Kochi: Ishant Sharma bulldozed the Kochi Tuskers Kerala batting line-up with a sensational five-wicket spell as Deccan Chargers spanked the hosts by 55 runs in their Indian Premier League match on Wednesday.
Before Ishant`s fiery spell, Chargers skipper Kumar Sangakkara had scored a defying 65 off 47 balls under pressure to help the side reach a modest 129 for seven after being invited to bat at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
The Chargers bowled out the hosts for 74 in 16.3 overs as Ishant produced one of the most memorable fast bowling spells in the history of the T20 league with incredible figures of 3-0-12-5.
Chargers badly needed a win as they had lost four of the six matches before and were sitting at the bottom of the points table. Now they have jumped to the sixth spot.
The track had helped the Kochi pacers as well but Ishant extracted the maximum help out of the juicy pitch as he hit the deck hard.
Ishant`s was the third-best performance by a bowler in the history of tournament. Rajasthan Royals`s Sohail Tanvir had recorded best figures in the inaugural edition in 2008 when he took six four 16 against Chennai.
Kochi had not scored even a single run off the bat and had lost four batsmen when they began their chase. Ishant was responsible for the mayhem as he ripped apart the rival top order by striking thrice in his first over, dismissing Parthiv Patel (0), Raiphi Gomez (0) and Brad Hodge (0).
Dale Steyn (3/16) had dismissed dangerous Brendon McCullum (0) in the first over and the two runs that Kochi had managed on the scoreboard at that time, came through a leg-bye and a wide.
Ishant sent shock waves in the rival camp when he returned to bowl his second over and trapped Kedar Jadhav (0) in the first ball and had Mahela Jayawardene (4) caught behind in the last ball.
The scorecard was reading a horrible 11 for six in four overs.
Ravindra Jadeja (23) and Thisara Perera (22) though showed nerves of steel as they responded to the tough situation with a gritty 36-run stand for the seventh wicket. It could not help them avert defeat but saved them from suffering the ignominy of recording the lowest total in the IPL history, which is 58 for Rajasthan against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2009.
Earlier, Invited to bat, Chargers were reeling at 20 for three in 5.2 overs but Sangakkara in company of Cameron White (31) rescued the team from the precarious position with a defying 90-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Sangakkara, when batting at individual score of five, was bowled by S Sreesanth in the fourth over of the innings but he never looked back after getting the reprieve and led the amazing recovery of the Chargers` innings.
His superb knock, under pressure, came off 47 balls and contained 10 boundaries while White`s 34-ball innings featured two fours and a six.
R Vinay Kumar (3/25) dismissed both Sangakkara and White in the last two balls of his final over, 17th of the innings, to conclude his spell on a superb note.
White holed out to Jayawardene at deep mid-wicket while Sangakkara edged the next delivery to stumper Parthiv Patel. The most productive session for the Chargers was between over number 11 and 15 when they scored 53 runs while the last five overs fetched 39 runs.
At the start Kochi paceman RP Singh (2/21) gave a dream start to the hosts by dismissing both the openers – Sunny Sohal (1) and Shikhar Dhawan (4) -- in his successive overs. The left-arm paceman trapped Sohal in the last ball of the opening over and then had Dhawan caught by Raiphi Gomez in the second ball of his second over.
However, he was unlucky to not have the wicket of Bharat Chipli, who drove straight to Brendon McCullum at extra cover but the Kiwi player failed to latch on to the chance. Sreesanth then bowled Sangakkara with a gem of a delivery but that turned out to be a no-ball.
The visitors finally ran out of luck as R Vinay Kumar had Chipli (4) caught by Sreesanth at mid-off.
The Kochi pace trio exploited the lively track, which offered bounce and seam, well as they gave away just 20 runs in the first six overs, conceding just one boundary.
Chargers needed Sangakkara to stay at the crease as long as possible and build a partnership along with Cameron White and the duo did not disappoint the teammates.
At half-way stage, they were 37 for three but gradually Sangakkara and White got into the groove and started punishing the bad balls. Only two boundaries were scored in the first 10 overs but then four were hit in two successive overs with three coming off the bat of Lankan batsman.
White then broke the shackles by dispatching Ravindra Jadeja for a huge six over the square leg and Sangakkara was just getting better and better as he smashed his compatriot Thisara Perera for a couple of boundaries.
The former Lankan skipper raised his fifty with a sweep boundary off Jadeja and took the team past 100-run mark before being dismissed by Vinay Kumar.