Delhi back to winning ways on green track
Delhi Daredevils 231 for 3 (Sehwag 77, Warner 77) beat Kings XI Punjab 202 for 6 (Marsh 95, Gilchrist 42) by 29 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Delhi finally feels like home for Delhi Daredevils. With players such as Virender Sehwag, David Warner and Morne Morkel in the side, they had been frustrated by lifeless home tracks that made stroke-play and pace bowling difficult. Before this game Sehwag demanded pace, and then in the company of Warner showed just why. They added 146 for the first wicket in 11.4 overs, an ideal platform for a comfortable win despite an equally remarkable innings by Shaun Marsh, and despite the continuing good luck of Kings XI Punjab's openers who were both dropped on nought.
With the ball coming on well on this green pitch, Warner and Sehwag let the bowlers feel their wrath. They were like beasts who had been uncaged after years of confinement, gorging on anything remotely loose. It is a scary thought to imagine what Sehwag would have managed had he not got out for 77 off 35, trying a fourth successive six off the fourth delivery of a David Hussey over. Sehwag even dived into his crease, one of the very few times he has committed that unbecoming act while batting, to bring up his half-century off 28 deliveries, one fewer that Warner took to reach his.
Warner got to his landmark with a trademark pull deep into the stands, his second pulled six and third overall. Sehwag was on only 36 then. It takes some special hitting to dominate the strike and still not frustrate Sehwag. Warner managed that nicely. He began in earnest in the first over, pulling and cutting Praveen Kumar for fours. Ryan Harris managed to trouble him for a bit with the extra bounce, but Warner's comeback was emphatic: a huge pull over midwicket to end Harris' spell of 2-0-13-0 in a score of 35 for 0 after four overs.
The floodgates had just begun to open then. Sehwag tucked into Praveen with three fours in the fifth over, Warner went down on a knee and lofted Shalabh Srivastava's medium-pace over the sightscreen. The middle overs and spread fields mattered little as both batsmen moved to 59 each by the end of the 11th over. Enter Hussey, Punjab's expensive signing, playing his first game this IPL. Sehwag showed his famous disdain for spin through sixes over long-on, cow corner and midwicket. A mis-hit off the fourth ball brought some decorum to the proceedings, with only 38 coming in the next 5.2 overs.
That phase included Warner's wicket for 77 off 48 balls. Temporary relief. Lull between storms. Harris came back to have his figures rearranged, ending with 48 off four to join two other colleagues with 40-plus aggregates to their names. Venugopal Rao and Naman Ojha took 47 off the last three overs to post the third-highest total in IPL history, and Delhi's biggest.
Morkel made a further show of why a pitch with bounce suits Delhi more. He got lift, he got movement, he got an edge second ball, one that was dropped by Ojha. However, Morkel's first spell of three overs for 20, four of which came through a misfield and 10 off free hits, left Punjab an asking rate of 13.2. A period of superb hitting followed, but despite 57 coming off the next four overs, they were just about keeping up with the rate. A five-run over from James Hopes turned the pressure back on, forcing Gilchrist to slog debutant Varun Aaron and miss.
Marsh batted beautifully for his 46-ball 95, fetched mainly through proper cricketing shots in an innings that deserved to be on the winning side. He, though, was swimming against the current, and the current won.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo