By Suneer Chowdhary
New Delhi: Apr 26, 2011
It was the same pitch that had given the IPL its highest score this season. Much had been spoken about how one could have expected a similar kind of a score on it when Delhi Daredevils took on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 30th game of the Indian Premier League.
On this one, though, there was much lesser grass than the previous one, which meant that the ball did not come on to the bat as well as the batsmen would have liked it to.
Given that both sides had gone into the game with a win under their belt in the previous game, it was a surprise to see them make changes to their playing eleven.
Delhi had gone in with Umesh Yadav, Matthew Wade and Ashok Dinda in place of Varun Aaron, Aaron Finch and Ajit Agarkar. Bangalore interchanged Asad Pathan with Abhimanyu Mithun.
Zaheer Khan, who had been under the pump in this edition of the IPL, having conceded almost nine per over, was bowled a three-over spell by Daniel Vettori. And while the odd boundary did flow off his bowling, the decision to get him the third over paid rich dividends.
Unlike in the previous game where Dave Warner had smashed his way to a man of the match award, the batsman struggled today. His first boundary came only in the fifth over of the game but he was bowled off the very next one that Zaheer sent down. An in-swinger, the batsman left a gap between the bat and pad and was bowled.
At the other end, Sehwag started off with a boundary as well and quickly got to 25 off only 18 balls. However, just when it looked like Sehwag had settled down rather well, he was run-out while attempting a quick single. The Delhi captain had earlier been out in a similar manner in the Mumbai Indians game.
Wade’s surprise elevation to the side lasted all of nine balls and at 68 for three in the tenth over, life looked like a far cry from the previous game where the Daredevils had smashed 231 in their 20 overs.
The resurrection came from familiar quarters. Venugopal Rao, who has often rescued the Daredevils in this tournament, joined James Hopes and slowly, but steadily got the side out of trouble. The thing about Rao has been that irrespective of the situation of the game, he has been aggressive and has not allowed the run-rate to fall.
Mithun, who had sent Wade back, was carted for two boundaries by Rao, before proceeding to smash the same bowler for another six next over.
Hopes joined in the fun as well, taking Syed Mohammad to the boundary on two occasions in the same over.
Mithun did have his chance to pick up the wicket of Hopes, but he erred in bowling a no-ball and despite being out caught, the batsman lived to fight another day.
Vettori bowled out in the 16th over, getting Rao bowled to an embarrassing stroke, before going for a six while Zaheer sent down his last over in the 17th, again sent over the fence – both by Naman Ojha.
At the other end, Hopes brought up his half century in the 18th over that was sent down by Chris Gayle but Mithun had the last laugh when he had Hopes caught behind. The all-rounder made 54 (43 balls) and had played an important role in pushing the score to where Sehwag would have expected from his side.
A couple of sixes from Irfan Pathan towards the end of the innings pushed the Delhi score to 160 for six in their 20 overs.
Brief Scores: DD 160 for six in 20 overs (James Hopes 54, Virender Sehwag 25; Abhimanyu Mithun 2 for 37, Daniel Vettori 1 for 25) vs RCB.
(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at email@example.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)
Pictures © AFP