Clinical Kochi gets better of Delhi

Kochi Tuskers Kerala batsman Michael Klinger (L) congratulates Brendon McCullum after a shot during the IPL Twenty20 match between the Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Delhi Daredevils. AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

New Delhi: May 2, 2011


Kochi Tuskers Kerala raced off to a seven-wicket win over the Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla, with five overs to spare. With this win, they also avenged their loss to Delhi in the previous game at home on Saturday.

Delhi Daredevils had gone into the game with a win in the previous match over the same opponents. This time, the Tuskers were far better-prepared and a combination of asphyxiating bowling and an aggressive chase shut out the Delhi Daredevils from the game. And probably, from the tournament as well.

Kochi needed to get to 141, a potentially tricky score on what seemed to be a track where the ball wasn t really coming on to the bat. The Tuskers proved that it was only an illusion.

The push for the target was provided in the very first over when Irfan Pathan sent down a wide that went to the fence. Michael Klinger dispatched the next one to the leg-side for another four before Brendon McCullum took over from the next over.

In an innings that had traces of reminiscence of the knock that he had played for the Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008, McCullum smashed 37 off 19 balls to get the side off to an explosive start.

Delhi hoped for a lot out of Morne Morkel but McCullum broke the bowler s morale by smashing three boundaries in his very first over.

Pathan followed up with a better second over but Morkel s replacement Umesh Yadav fared worse. A drive through extra-cover was followed by a above waist-full-toss that was edged away for a six before slamming another for a six off the very next ball. He rounded the over off with a four to grab 23 in the over and push his side firmly into the driver s seat.

His opening partner Michael Klinger followed the act with a couple of boundaries in the next over before the Daredevils had their first wicket. McCullum s attempt at pulling the ball fell into the hands of mid-on. By then, the Tuskers were 61 in five overs and on their way to a win.

Roelof van der Merwe did raise the Delhi hopes by getting Klinger out lbw in his first over while Mahela Jayawardene was run-out in a bizarre manner to leave the Tuskers requiring 52 in the last 10 overs.

However, a flurry of boundaries from Parthiv Patel s bat to go with Brad Hodge s 13-ball 24 sealed the game for the Kochi side in the 15th over.

The Daredevils had been restricted to 140 for six in their 20 overs earlier. None of the top-order batsmen, save Venugopal Rao managed to kick on from the starts that they got and even Rao s 40 came off 36 balls. On a track that did not exhibit too many demons for the batsmen, it was criminal that Delhi got only what they finally got.

Delhi had not made any change to their line-up while Kochi got in Prasanth Parameswaram and Raiphi Gomez in place of B Akhil and Ramesh Powar.

Virender Sehwag started off well with a couple of boundaries and a six but Parameswaran had the batsman edging to the wicket-keeper. That, to some, was the turning point of the game, especially with Dave Warner struggling to get the ball off the park at the other end.

Naman Ojha began well too but followed Warner quickly into the shed and despite the fourth wicket stand of 54 between Rao and Yogesh Nagar, the much-needed acceleration never came.

Travis Birt did get hold of five boundaries at the end of the innings but the Daredevils fell woefully short of achieving what would have been a competitive score on this pitch.

Brief Scores: DD 140 for 6 in 20 overs (Venugopal Rao 40, Travis Birst 27; R Vinay Kumar 2 for 25, Prasantha Paramesawaran 2 for 29, S Sreesanth 1 for 24) lost to KTK 141 for 3 in 15 overs (Brendon McCullum 37, Parthiv Patel 37*; Roelof van der Merwe 1 for 15, Morne Morkel 1 for 29) by 7 wickets.

Man of the Match: Prasanth Parameswaran


(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)