Nixon powers Delhi to victory
Delhi Giants 167 for 7 (Nixon 43, Streak 3-23) beat Ahmedabad Rockets 154 for 9 (Sodhi 51*, Aziz 48, Sudhindra 3-33) by 13 runs
Paul Nixon's 24-ball 43 proved the difference between the Delhi Giants and the Ahmedabad Rockets after he powered Delhi from 89 for 3 to a match-winning total. Reetinder Sodhi and Parvez Aziz threatened briefly in the chase but Delhi had enough firepower with the ball to arrest their momentum.
The game swung around in the 13th over with Nixon's entry. His start was typical: a reverse-sweep, a shot he deployed repeatedly during his stay. He used it against S Sriram to get a six and then slog-swept S Kalia over midwicket boundary. Jason Gillespie's full delivery was hit over deep midwicket, followed by another one over long-on.
For Ahmedabad, Aziz, the the 20-year old left-hand batsman from Assam, kept the fight going with boundaries; his best shot was a monster hit to the cow corner off the left-arm spinner Ali Murtaza. But Aziz was cleaned up by JP Yadav, 95 runs short of the target.
Sodhi played the seamers to his preferred on side and Sriram hit a couple of reverse-swept boundaries off Murtaza in a vain attempt to catch up with the required run-rate. It was Yadav again who terminated the promising 48-run partnership, leaving Sodhi with too much to do. Though Sodhi swung his bat around in the end and picked up a few boundaries, Delhi were always in control.
However, the cheekiest shot of the tournament came off his bat: he went down on his knees to paddle-scoop Shane Bond, who operated around 135kmph, right over the keeper's head for a stunning six.
Delhi may have left the arena laughing but their start wasn't all too auspicious. Gillespie, who bowled the only maiden over of the match, and Rakesh Patel applied the squeeze with the new ball before Heath Streak turned in a tidy spell. Avishka Gunawardene upped the tempo but was run out after a terrible mix-up with Abhinav Bali.
Bali, picked as the best under-22 player by the BCCI before they found out he had signed with the ICL, was confident in the middle and made amends for the run-out with a 48-run partnership with Syed Abbas Ali. He punctuated his singles with three sixes; a pull over midwicket being the highlight of his innings.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo