Virender Sehwag annihilates Deccan Chargers by four wickets!

Virender Sehwag’s blistering knock of 119 took the match away from Deccan in their IPL match on Thursday AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

Hyderabad: May 5, 2011

At 29 for three at the end of the sixth over and chasing 176 for a win, the Daredevils looked doomed. Almost finished. Aaron Finch had lasted two balls while Naman Ojha and Venugopal Rao had both hopped around to the pace of Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma before surrendering their wickets away.

The presence of Virender Sehwag would have quelled the naysayers but from that stage onwards, the Daredevils needed something special. And miraculous. And that is exactly what they got from their captain. Sehwag got only one ball to play in the seventh over off which he took a single. From the eighth, there was mayhem.

Ishan Malhotra, on his IPL debut this year, was welcomed to the crease with a six to the square-leg before the dose was repeated down the mid-wicket fence. A couple of fours rounded the over off.

The momentum had shifted and Sehwag took full toll. Christian, who had conceded 11 in his first couple, was thwacked for another couple of four while Amit Mishra, Sehwag’s former Daredevils teammate went for 17 in his opening over.

Travis Birt, at the other end, was dismissed by Christian and in a partnership of 61, he had made only four. But there was more to come.

Mishra’s second over and the 13th of the innings saw Sehwag lofting the bowler for three successive boundaries and with the asking rate back to where it was at the start of the innings Sangakkara had to get Dale Steyn back.

Four runs off the first four deliveries were followed by two more to the fence an up and over cut that gave third-man no chance and a glance that went to the fine-leg fence.

Another six and a couple of singles off Mishra took him to 98 before the century came in the 15th over off a brace off Bharat Chipli. When Sehwag had 100, his team had made only 131, such was the one-sidedness of the batting.

Chipli, who had been brought in because the captain had run out of ideas and options did not last long though. Continuing the dose that he had meted out to Mishra, Sehwag lofted the bowler straight into the stands for a couple of sixes and rounded off the over with that mandatory boundary to get the asking rate down to below six.

By the time Steyn had got the better of Sehwag and congratulated him back to the fence the Daredevils were almost home dry. James Hopes completed the final rites with a couple of boundaries off Mishra to finish off the game. In turn, he finished with the second highest score in the innings, an unbeaten 17.

Sehwag got to 10 off 14 balls, his first half-century had come off 27 balls and his second took only 21 balls.

To be fair though, Mishra could have had Sehwag on two different occasions but both times, Sehwag was dropped. In such a raging mood, that was as sinful as it was tragic from the Chargers and taking full toll of that, the Daredevils ran home victors.

Earlier, the Chargers were propped up captain Sangakkara’s sublime knock of 44, that set the foundation for JP Duminy’s return-to-form half century.

Batting first on a green top, the Chargers’ experiment to send in DB Ravi Teja at the top of the innings did not work but Shikhar Dhawan and Sangakkara carried the score to 58 in the ninth over.

Sangakkara needed seven balls to score his first run but compensated with a spate of boundaries after that.

Dhawan was dismissed by Ajit Agarkar but Sangakkara kept peppering the fence to keep the rate up and by the time his knock of 44 (36 balls) had ended, the base had been formed. It just needed an innings of substance from someone down the order to take the Chargers on to something substantial.

That came from the bat of Duminy.

He smashed a four and a six to begin with, off the bowling of James Hopes before a couple of wickets off no-balls pushed the Chargers further away. The erring bowler was Yogesh Nagar.

Agarkar, who had a decent spell to start off things, also went for a six and a four off Duminy’s bat and not before long, Morne Morkel’s day worsened when his South African teammate deposited him into the stands on the leg-side.

Duminy’s half century came off 30 balls and despite his run-out off the very next ball in the 18th over, the Chargers had got to 175 for five in their 20 overs.

The Deccan Chargers got in Duminy in place of Cameron White and Ishan Malhotra replaced Pragyan Ojha while Dave Warner, Roelof van Der Merwe and Umesh Yadav were replaced by Avishkar Salvi, Aaron Finch and James Hopes.

Brief Scores: DC 175 for 5 in 20 overs (JP Duminy 55, Kumar Sangakkara 44, Shikhar Dhawan 29; Ajit Agarkar 2 for 29, Aavishkar Salvi 1 for 26) lost to DD 179 for 6 in 19 overs (Virender Sehwag 119; Ishant Sharma 2 for 16, Dale Steyn 2 for 24) by 4 wickets.

Man of the Match: Virender Sehwag

Full Scorecard

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