May 5, 2012 was the first birthday of Virender Sehwag’s younger son Vedant. Sehwag senior visited the birthday boy and returned to Hyderabad for Delhi’s game against Deccan Chargers. In the years to come Vedant will always remember his father on his birthday as Papa Sehwag scored a once-in-a-lifetime century against Chargers hammering them to all corners of the ground. Prakash Govindasreenivasan revisits vintage Viru’s startling innings.
It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right for Delhi Daredevils’ skipper Virender Sehwag. He had won the toss and put Kumar Sangakkara’s Deccan Chargers in to bat only to see the Daredevils looking very ordinary on the field. Straightforward catches were being dropped, while Yogesh Nagar picked up two wickets within a span of three deliveries, only for both to be adjudged as no balls. Delhi’s poor effort on the field made them look second best for the full duration of the Deccan Chargers’ innings as a half-century from JP Duminy and a crucial 44 from Sangakkara took the home side to what seemed a match-winning 175.
Delhi’s poor form in the field carried into their batting as Dale Steyn dismissed opener Aaron Finch off the second ball of the innings. Delhi were reduced to 25 for three by the sixth over, staring at a massive defeat. But what unfolded was just spectacularly dramatic as Sehwag took control of the match in his inimitable manner.
He was first joined by Travis Birt. The duo added 61 runs off just 28 deliveries for the fourth wicket with Birt scoring just four runs.
The first jolt for the home side came in the eighth over, when Sehwag severely dealt with debutant Ishan Malhotra. This was Malhotra’s first game in the IPL.
Sehwag welcomed him with a six over deep backward point and followed it up with one over deep midwicket. Malhotra tried two slower deliveries and was dispatched for two fours to concede 23 runs in his first over. That 23-run over turned out to be the last over bolwed by Malhotra in the IPL. He has never played an IPL game since. Sehwag ended Malhotra’s career prematurely.
The Delhi dugout finally had something to cheer about.
The next over from Daniel Christian fetched 13 runs with Sehwag scoring two boundaries from them. The next over saw him punish Amit Mishra, as he slammed 17 runs off the over. This over also saw him race away to his half-century in just 27 deliveries. From 25 for three in the seventh over, Delhi raced away to 85 for three at the half-way stage.
The required rate was still slightly above nine runs an over. It was imperative Sehwag not only stayed till the end, but sustained his belligerence. His determination to keep his side alive and Hyderabad’s casual attitude on the field brought the game back in the balance. A strategy talk between Sangakkara, Duminy and Christian resulted in the wicket of Birt in the 11th over. That brought Irfan Pathan to the crease. Mishra was brought back into the attack and Sehwag took on him again. He slammed three fours and to Mishra’s horror, was dropped at long-off by Ravi Teja. The over fetched 15 runs and Sehwag kept the runs coming.
Sangakkara brought back Steyn for his third over in desperate need of Sehwag’s wicket to kill the game. But, Sehwag plays two beautiful strokes — a slash through backward point and a pull shot through fine-leg boundary — to take Delhi’s total to 119 for four in 13 overs, of which 90 runs came of Sehwag’s bat.
The asking rate was still over nine. Even a single mistake from Sehwag would have swung the momentum back in Deccan Chargers’ favour. However, the game-changing over came when Sehwag bludgeoned Bharat Chipli for 20 runs. In the process, he reached his first Twenty20 hundred. The over tilted the match in Delhi’s favour as they now needed just 27 runs off 30 deliveries.
Two overs later, Steyn finally dismissed Sehwag and walked across to him to pat him on his back. It was the end of an innings that was laced with equal proportions of brutality and entertainment. Sehwag’s carnage of 119 from just 56 deliveries single-handedly lifted Delhi’s spirits on an otherwise off day and took them to a four-wicket victory with an over to spare.
Deccan Chargers 175 for 5 in 20 overs (Jean Paul Duminy 55, Kumar Sangakkara 44; Ajit Agarkar 2 for 29) lost to Delhi Daredevils 179 for 6 in 19 overs (Virender Sehwag 119; Ishant Sharma 2 for 16) by 4 wickets.
(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)