Hyderabad, May 19 (IANS): Former champions Rajasthan Royals were knocked out of the fifth edition of Indian Premier League following their five wicket defeat by Deccan Chargers at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium here Friday.
It was finally a moment of celebrations for the home team as chasing a modest target of 127, they notched up a victory with 1.2 overs to spare.
The result put an end to series of defeats for the home side but made little difference to their position. They are already out of the race for the play-offs.
With seven points from 15 matches, the Chargers still languish at the bottom with the last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore scheduled at the same ground on Sunday. For the Royals, the loss means end of the road for a place in play-offs. They have 14 points from 15 matches and a win in the last match against Mumbai Indians would not help them.
Buckling under the pressure of a must-win situation, the Royals crumbled to 126 after winning the toss. After impressive bowling, Chargers' batting came up good to snatch the much-needed victory.
Ashish Reddy hit two successive fours of Shaun Tait to overcome some anxious moments and seal the victory for his team.
The opening partnership of 63 between Reddy (42 off 35 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (26 off 24), adding 58 in the power play, helped Chargers to reach the target. J.P. Duminy chipped in with 24 off 31 deliveries.
The openers gave a flying start with Dhawan hitting Chandila for a six over long-on, followed up by a sweep for four to notch up 11 runs in the first over. Dhawan, one of the leading run-scorer this season, then hooked Tait for a six behind the wicket keeper.
The first breakthrough for the visitors came in the ninth over when Johan Botha had Dhawan caught by Chandila.
Reddy was the next to go as he tried to flick it away but got a leading edge and Owais Shah took a good catch by running back.
Captain Cameron White (1) did not last long as he gave a return catch to Chandila. At this stage, Royals tried to put some pressure with tight bowling and fielding but ultimately their total proved to be too meagre to defend.
Trivedi claimed two for 20 while Chandila, Botha and Binny bagged a wicket each.
Earlier, an impressive bowling performance by Chargers restricted the Royals to 126 for eight.
Dale Steyn's two for 14, Amit Mishra's two for 20 and a fine display by other bowlers reduced the visitors to the lowest score this season.
Electing to bat after winning the toss on what looked to be a good batting track, the Royal' top-order collapsed before disciplined bowling attack of the home team.
Barring captain Rahul Dravid (39 off 26) and Owais Shah (28 off 32), who showed some resistance, none of the batsmen could withstand the fiery spells by Steyn, Mishra and Gony (1 for 26). Veer Pratap Singh also chipped in with two for 31.
The 35-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Shah and Ashok Menaria (20 off 17) was the only highlight of the Rajasthan innings. Dravid's knock of 39 off 26 balls was studded with five fours out of the total 10 boundaries in the innings.
The visitors also failed to capitalize on three dropped catches and some sloppy fielding by Chargers, who were led by White as Kumar Sangakkara opted out after a rather poor season with the bat.
Royals had a disastrous start with Rahane departing in the second over as Steyn had him caught in the slip by Dhawan.
Watson survived narrowly in the fifth over when Dhawan could not hold on to a diving catch off Gony at mid-on. Dravid survived the next delivery as Ashish Reddy attempted a difficult overhead catch.
Amit Mishra then gave his team a key breakthrough as he cleaned up Watson for 13 (1x4, 1x6) on his very first delivery which spinned away to hit the off-stump. Mishra in his next over deceived Binny (7) to another beauty which uprooted the stumps.
Playing the captain's knock, Dravid held on to the other end. However, in an attempt to give some momentum to the scoring, he was caught by Chris Lynn off Gony near the boundary line.