On May 10, 2012, David Warner played what was just his second match for the Delhi Daredevils of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season, after Kevin Pietersen left the team to honour his commitment for England. Warner broke the spirits of the inexperienced Deccan Chargers attack and masterminded the chase of 188 with élan. Sarang Bhalerao goes into the rewind mode remembering one of the finest manoeuvres in the IPL history.
After posting 187 in their 20 overs, Deccan Chargers would have expected their bowlers to defend the total albeit they had no international bowler in their line-up. Amit Mishra was the most experienced bowler. Kumar Sangakkara gave the opening over to Shikhar Dhawan. Virender Sehwag hit him for a boundary over mid-off but he was caught off the second delivery at covers courtesy of a mistimed slog. From there on till the sixteenth over, it was David Warner’s Houdini Act.
Warner pummelled Chargers with his imposing shots. Chargers’ ordinary fielding compounded their problems. The bowling lacked the vital ingredients: depth and experience. Warner was in total control of the situation. The bowlers after one-two hits looked at containment which played into Warner’s hands. Taduri Sudhindra gave away 13 in his second over, after warming the benches for considerable part of the competition. Ashish Reddy went for 20 in his opening over. For the Chargers the bowling cauldron was getting intense. Warner punished the good deliveries taking calculated risks. The short balls didn’t have the pace since Chargers had fielded military-medium bowlers. Bad deliveries: rank long hops, full tosses disappeared almost inadvertently. The bowlers did not look like getting the breathing space once Warner unleashed himself.
Manpreet Gony looked the best bowler but the wickets eluded him. At the end of seven overs Delhi were 74 for one. Gony’s figures were 3-0-10-0. The rest of the bowlers were diabolically treated. More punishment awaited them. Mishra went for 13 in the eighth over, Dhawan [the part time bowler and the only wicket taker] went for 15 in the ninth over and Mishra went for 10 in the tenth over. Delhi reached 112 for one at the half stage.
Delhi’s No 3, Naman Ojha was playing the sheet-anchor role. Warner continued with his pounding. Gony was hit for a six off the last ball of his spell. Warner’s confidence rubbed onto Ojha and he started to use the long handle. Mishra was hit for a couple of sixes in his final over and Ojha brought up his half-century. Warner smashed left-arm spiner Ankit Sharma’s long hop for a massive six over square-leg to bring up his maiden IPL ton. Two balls later, he celebrated that feat with another six, seventh off the innings, over square-leg with ridiculous ease.
Ojha finished off the game with a four and a six and remained unbeaten on 64 off 46 deliveries. Warner was not out on 109 off 54 deliveries. Ten boundaries and seven sixes punctuated his incursion.
In the post-match presentation Warner said: “It is a great feeling, we are at the top of the points table and credit to the bowlers as well for the way they have bowled in this tournament. We knew that it was going to move around and we tried to take that away from them by going after the bowling very early. I have not lifted any weights in the gym for the last 12 months!”
One just wonders what might have happened had Warner lifted weights in the gym?
Deccan Chargers 187 for 4 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 84, Cameron White 65; Varun Aaron 2 for 30) lost to Delhi Daredevils 193 for 1 in 16.4 overs (David Warner 109*, Naman Ojha 64*; Shikhar Dhawan 1 for 27) by 9 wickets.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)