Languishing at the bottom of the table, Deccan Chargers today turned party poopers shocking title contenders Mumbai Indians by 10 runs in an IPL match here on Saturday.
The Chargers defended a modest score of 135 for six restricting the home team to 125 for eight in 20 overs.
This was the second successive defeat for Mumbai who remain on 16 points while Deccan now have eight points from 12 matches.
It was the expensive 20th over bowled by Munaf Patel that changed the complexion of the match. The India speedster gave away 23 runs which included a six hit by Shikhar Dhawan (27 not out 18 balls, 2x4, 1x6) and four consecutive boundaries hit by Man of the match Amit Mishra (18 not out, 6 balls, 4x4 and 1/18 from 4 overs).
The final over also saw an ugly altercation between Munaf and Mishra after the latter was hit for boundaries. Both hurled choicest expletives at each other and it required the intervention from umpires to stop things from getting uglier.
From 112 for six in 19th over, the Chargers moved to 135 for six. On a track that offered big turn to the spinners, Mumbai Indians batsmen including skipper Sachin Tendulkar (37, 42 balls, 3x4) were not in their element as they played as many as 60-odd dot balls.
After part-time spinner Jean-Paul Duminy got rid off Aiden Blizzard cheaply, Ishant Sharma celebrated his return to the Indian ODI team dismissing the in-form Ambati Rayudu (2) and the dangerous IPL specialist Rohit Sharma (4).
Losing three quick wickets with only 25 on board, MI couldn't really recover on a pitch where strokemaking was difficult.
If Ishant provided breakthroughs up the order,little-known Madhya Pradesh medium pacer Anand Rajan removed T Suman (14) and Tendulkar and Kieron Pollard (24, 13 balls, 3x4, 1x6) to return with figures of three for 27 from four overs.
Pollard and Harbhajan Singh (17 not out) tried their best but it was a tall-order after the top-order put up a lousy show.
Choosing to bat first after winning the toss, Chargers got off to a poor start after Lasith Malinga castled opener
Michael Lumb off the second ball for a duck. The wooden spooners in the competition never really got the momentum back.
Sunny Sohal (20 in 22 balls) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (27 in 28 balls) added 39 runs for the second wicket in 7 overs but the Chargers lost three wickets for 24 runs in the middle overs and could never step on the pedal.
Dan Christian (18 in 23 balls) and Dhawan, surprisingly coming lower down the order, added 28 runs for the sixth wicket. But it was the 30 runs that Mishra and Dhawan added in only 1.4 overs gave the total a semblance of respectability.
For Mumbai Indians, Dhawal Kulkarni was the pick of the bowlers grabbing three for 26 while Malinga, Harbhajan Singh and Kieron Pollard also got a scalp apiece. Munaf, who had taken five wickets in the previous game, went wicket-less while giving away 37 runs.
The Chargers had a dismal beginning when the left handed Lumb, playing his first game, was bowled neck and crop for a duck by Malinga off the second ball he faced when trying an ill-advised heave.
Sohal, who opened with Lumb, showed his aggressive intent by swinging Munaf Patel for a six over mid wicket in the second over but overall the Mumbai bowling attack kept the rival batsmen under wraps with the first six over yielding only 32 runs.
Skipper Sangakkara, the Chargers mainstay in batting and their highest run-getter, looked in good touch as he effortlessly lofted Harbhajan Singh for a straight six with perfect timing and then smacked Dhawal Kulkarni over the medium pacer's head for a four.
But Kulkarni exacted revenge soon by dismissing the rival team's captain, Kieron Pollard again bringing off a superb catch by running backwards at cover point to make Chargers 39 for two.
The 50 came up in the 9th over but with the run-rate not up to the mark Sohal departed in trying to up the pace caught by Andrew Symonds in Pollard's first over.
The under-performing Jean-Paul Duminy started encouragingly by cutting Harbhajan Singh for a four before he was deceived by a sharp turning ball from the off-spinner and was stumped to leave Chargers at a difficult 58 for 4 in the 11th over.
The next three overs, with Malinga back into the attack, produced just 18 runs and with the scoring rate not up to the desired levels, Bharat Chipli tried to get after Kulkarni and paid the penalty by mistiming a pull-shot and was caught by Suman at short mid wicket.
At 77 for 5 with only the last few overs remaining, the Chargers were looking headed to a score well short of the desired level on what appeared to be a good track. They added 53 runs in the last five overs to give their bowlers a decent chance of defending.
Deccan Chargers skipper Kumar Sangakkara won the toss at the Wankhede Stadium and chose to bat against the Mumbai Indians.
Dale Steyn does not feature for the IPL-2 champions with Michael Lumb to play his first game of the IPL-4 season.
Mumbai, on the other hand go in this game unchanged.
MI have 16 points, the same as Chennai Super Kings but the better net run-rate now sees Mumbai jump to second spot after the victory over Delhi Daredevils.
However, Mumbai have one more match in hand and if they win their last three games, including two at home, they would finish on top of the heap.
On the other hand, Deccan Chargers have only six points from 11 games and they can put a spanner on Mumbai's plans of finishing among the top two.