|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
April 18, 2009
Frequent showers ruined the first match of Sunday's double-header in Cape Town, reducing the target required by Delhi Daredevils to only 54 in six overs, a goal they reached with all wickets intact. The victory, however, was set up by Daniel Vettori's remarkable spell which brought an abrupt halt to Kings XI Punjab's burgeoning momentum and gave Delhi a manageable target to chase.
The game was first reduced to 14 overs a side, and then to 12, and the boundaries were shortened to exclude wet parts of the outfield. The pre-match conditions - overcast skies and a green-tinged pitch - indicated that the fast bowlers would find assistance at Newlands and Delhi packed their side with four seamers. However, their inexperienced new-ball attack - Delhi left out Glenn McGrath - struggled to contain the Kings XI Punjab openers, Karan Goel and Ravi Bopara, who raced to 67 in the first six overs.
Sehwag used his fast bowlers in one-over spells before the tactical time-out but turned to Vettori, the No. 1 spinner in Twenty20 internationals, soon after to stem the run-flow. Vettori had immediate success, trapping Bopara lbw with a straighter one, and bowled flat and straight, conceding only one run off his first over. Victoria fast bowler Dirk Nannes bowled another economical over to two new batsmen - Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh - before holding a well-judged catch at short fine-leg off Sangakkara's top-edged sweep to give Vettori his second wicket.
With only three overs to go, Yuvraj found his timing, clouting Nannes and Vettori for sixes over wide long-on and midwicket. Just when Yuvraj seemed to be making a push towards a 120-plus score, Mahela Jayawardene called for an ill-advised run and Vettori broke the stumps with Yuvraj well short at the bowler's end. Punjab then lost two more wickets within the space of three balls - Jayawardene was caught at long-off off Vettori and Piyush Chawla was run out without facing a ball. Vettori finished with 3 for 15 and was instrumental in pulling Punjab back to 104 for 7.
Gautam Gambhir gave Delhi an ideal start by driving Irfan Pathan over cover and flicking through midwicket for boundaries. Thereafter, however, it was all Sehwag. He flicked his first ball, from Yusuf Abdulla, over fine leg for six and lofted his second to the long-on boundary. The drizzle that had been around from the half-way point of Punjab's innings grew stronger and forced the players off with Delhi on 24 for 0 after 1.5 overs. When play resumed, Delhi needed only 31 more off 25 balls. Sehwag drove the first ball after the resumption firmly to the long-off boundary and effectively ended any slim hopes of a Punjab victory.
The BCCI set up a three-man committee to tackle the problem of chucking at age-group and domestic cricket, and it has produced significant results in five years
The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully
What Australia have not done since returning a fractured unit from India is head back to Asia to play an Asian team. Two of their major weaknesses - handling spin and reverse swing - will be tested in the UAE by Pakistan
The WICB statement should cool down emotions and allow all parties involved to take the next step forward
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala
The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams
Players demanding that home pitches should be prepared to favour them don't realise it's a retaliatory business
ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over the preparation of all 16 Australia players ahead of the first Test, which starts in Dubai on Wednesday