By Jamie Alter
Navi Mumbai: Apr 17, 2011
In a match with more twists and turns than a bag of pretzels, Delhi Daredevils roared back from the precipice of humiliation to steal their first win of the tournament by virtue of a frenzied run chase at the Dr DY Patil Stadium. DD were up against it chasing 188 after a very shoddy performance in the field, but a clutch of key innings at either side of their chase helped them overcome a Yuvraj Singh-inspired Pune Warriors with four balls to spare.
On a day in which Yuvraj and Jesse Ryder wowed the fans with dazzling fifties, it was lesser knocks from David Warner, Aaron Finch and Venugopal Rao that proved the difference between a third straight loss and a much-needed win for DD. Warner got DD’s chase off to a flier in the face of adversity before Finch and Rao injected some oomph after the middle order fell apart dramatically. DD had revamped their side to extend their batting line-up, and the move proved highly effective even if it knocked the air out of a few spectators.
Needing to chase at 9.40 an over, DD began their reply briskly. Warner slotted three of Wayne Parnell’s first five deliveries for four, while Virender Sehwag at the other end punched his second ball over point. Warner kept on swinging, taking on Alfonso Thomas’ short-pitched deliveries with glee to clobber him for successive sixes, and clubbed Parnell’s full offerings with power. Delhi brought up their fifty in the fifth over and after six overs were 67 for 0 with Warner on 43 off 26 and Sehwag 17 off ten balls.
The first success for PW came soon after as Warner was run out attempting a second. That brought to the crease Pathan, but the action continued to unfold at the other end as Sehwag was dropped in the deep and just managed to evade midwicket. His chancy innings was ended when Ryder came on and snuck one through the gate.
On came Yuvraj with his left-arm spin and third ball he had a wicket as Irfan Pathan swung to deep midwicket. That became two in two as Robin Uthappa produced a super stumping with Naman Ojha’s back leg in the air. Mathew Wade was the next to go, lbw to Rahul Sharma.
That left DD struggling for momentum, but Rao and Finch kept their cool. Rao’s clinical targeting of the slow bowlers and the straight boundary was crucial, but consecutive sixes off Shrikant Wagh in an 18th over which also included two wides turned the momentum DD’s way. Recoiling with tremendous bat speed, Finch swung a full toss and length ball over long-on with power, and after the over the equation was 21 off two overs.
In the 19th, bowled by Yuvraj, DD lost Finch – caught and bowled – and Rao – caught at deep midwicket after hitting his third six, to make it eight needed from six. James Hopes delivered the winning hit by taking Ryder for ten in two balls, cuing pandemonium in the Delhi dugout. It had been an electric finale to a frenetic Twenty20 match.
Earlier, Ryder and Yuvraj had seemingly done enough to set up victory. The two burly left-handers with limited footwork smashed DD’s insipid lengths to all corners in entertaining half-centuries to launch PW to 187 for five. In the first over, Ryder connected sweetly to take successive sixes of Rao; Pathan was welcomed with two meaty shots, a drive past mid-off and a reverberating pull over midwicket for six; Umesh Yadav was slapped for three boundaries in his opening over; and the last ball of Shahbaz Nadeem’s first over was dumped for six.
Ryder sped to the second fastest fifty of the IPL, but his and Uthappa’s exits in relative succession left Yuvraj needing to continue the good. Like Ryder, Yuvraj targeted the balls to hit and played some pleasing strokes, the pick of which was a shuffled inside-out six off Pathan. He played down the ground well, with a free swing of the bat, and saved his best for the final over in which he swung the last three balls from Ashok Dinda for six, to raucous applause. It was devastating hitting from a man in a rich vein of form, but in the end wasn’t enough.
Brief Scores: PWI 187 for 5 in 20 overs (Yuvraj Singh 66*, Jesse Ryder 60, Mithun Manhas 20; Shahbaz Nadeem 2 for 39, Ashok Dinda 2 for 42, James Hopes 1 for 26) lost to DD 190 for 7 in 19.2 overs (David Warner 46, Virender Sehwag 37, Venugopal Rao 31, Aaron Finch 25; Yuvraj Singh 4 for 29) by 3 wickets.
Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh
(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)