Delhi open gap at top with big win
Delhi Daredevils 207 for 5 (Sehwag 73, Jayawardene 55, Pietersen 50*) beat Mumbai Indians 170 for 9 (Rayudu 62, Karthik 40) by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Just in case there had been any doubts about it, Delhi Daredevils showed they are the team to beat this season by thumping pre-tournament favourites Mumbai Indians. Two of their high-profile new recruits, Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen, contributed half-centuries while Virender Sehwag made his third successive fifty to power Daredevils past 200. Even the return of the world's best Twenty20 bowler, Lasith Malinga, couldn't prevent Daredevils from reaching the second highest total of the season.
Mumbai's batting has been their biggest frailty this season, and their top order failed again. The game seemed virtually over in the fourth over of the chase with Mumbai at 19 for 3 before Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik resurrected Mumbai hopes with a fast-paced 96-run stand. Their chances were finally finished off by unheralded left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem, who continued his golden run this season by removing Rayudu and the dangerous Kieron Pollard off successive deliveries in the 16th over.
Daredevils dominated right from the beginning with Jayawardene and Sehwag putting on a 135-run opening stand. Jayawardene ripped into his Sri Lanka colleague, Malinga, in the third over, taking 15 off it with three boundaries. The Daredevils openers feasted on some wayward Mumbai bowling, flicking full tosses off the pads and slashing the wide ones. Jayawardene was the early aggressor, outscoring Sehwag before the captain opened up against RP Singh, slashing over point and flat-batting a six over long-off.
Mumbai should have had Sehwag on 40, when he skipped down the track to Robin Peterson, only for Karthik to fluff the stumping. Sehwag made Mumbai pay by ransacking Pollard for two fours and two sixes in an over which cost 23. There were more worries for Mumbai as Pollard later walked off with an injured shoulder after attempting an almost impossible catch at point, though he returned later to bat.
There was no let-up even after the openers departed as Pietersen and Ross Taylor added 41 in just 2.4 overs. Pietersen brought out his signature switch hit, off his namesake who pulled off the same shot in Mumbai's last game. A boundary to extra cover in the final over brought up the 200 and dented Mumbai's hopes of revenge for the humiliating defeat at home last week.
Mumbai tried their sixth new opening partnership in eight matches, and this one flopped as well. Aiden Blizzard went for a duck in his first game of the season and bigger blows quickly followed. Morne Morkel got Sachin Tendulkar to chip a catch to mid-off and Irfan Pathan sent back Rohit Sharma, who holed out to mid-on for 12. With a blaze of boundaries Rayudu and Karthik managed to keep pace even though the asking rate was above 12. Karthik was undone by a low full toss from Ajit Agarkar that homed into the base of the stumps, while Nadeem's crucial intervention three overs later finished off the contest.
Daredevils are now three points ahead of the chasing pack, the largest lead a team has held this season. Mumbai, on the other hand, still have only four victories, two of which needed extraordinary performances at the end of the match. They were expected to steamroll oppositions this year, but it has proved a hard grind so far, with the thinktank still struggling to decide on their best line-up. They need to get their act together fast.