Kedar Jadhav helps Delhi end losing streak
David Warner exploded at the top and Kedar Jadhav provided a fiery finish to charge Delhi Daredevils to a strong 183, which they defended with relative ease. It was Delhi's first win after three losses and also marked Royal Challengers Bangalore's first loss at home.
The pitch was drier than the previous tracks at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and Bangalore had to do much of the damage against the new ball if they were to hunt down the strong total. However, Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey were kept relatively quiet by tight spells from Dirk Nannes and Umesh Yadav. Nannes hit the deck hard and moved the ball enough to upset batsmen's timing and Yadav, the fastest Indian bowler currently going around in the circuit, with speeds consistently ticking over 140 kmph, surprised the batsmen with his line, length and bounce. And it wasn't all brawn from the youngster; he kept it relatively full to Kallis but hurled a few short deliveries at Pandey to keep him on a leash.
Bangalore's second opportunity to break free came in the eight over with the introduction of Andrew McDonald and Amit Mishra. It was the make or break moment, with Bangalore needing 129 from 13 overs, but Mishra slipped in fine spell to turn the game decisively in Delhi's favour. Mishra removed Kallis with a googly and induced Robin Uthappa to edge the reverse-sweep to inflict a double-strike from which Bangalore couldn't' recover. McDonald went for 18 runs in his first seven deliveries - Uthappa producing the shot of the day with a nonchalantly-hit six over the straight boundary - but bounced back in his second over by taking out Pandey, and when Rahul Dravid ran himself out in the same over the chase had derailed.
There was just one other moment of thrilling drama and it was provided by AB de Villiers, who jumped back at long-on to take an amazing one-handed catch, even as the ball appeared to have passed him, to get rid of Praveen Kumar.
The Delhi bowlers produced a disciplined performance, but it was their batsmen who set up the game. There were three phases of play in Delhi's innings - an explosive start by Warner, a serene partnership in the middle-overs between AB de Villiers and Dinesh Karthik, and a fiery finish provided by Jadhav.
It was Jadhav who gave Delhi the perfect finish, but for the majority of the innings they rode on the momentum provided by Warner. It was as though he was playing stick cricket - see the ball and give it a mighty thump. The shot that stood out was a crunchy pulled-six off Dale Steyn but what caught his impish mindset was actually a mishit against the same bowler. It was just about back of length outside off and Warner went for an ambitious pull, but the ball screamed towards the cover boundary. It was Twenty20 cricket at its best (or worst, depending on your point of view) and both the bowler and the batsman smiled.
There were no smiles from any bowler for the rest of the time when Warner flat-batted length deliveries over in-field and launched mighty sixes over long-on, but the entertainment ended when he fell, unable to clear long-off with yet another of his lofted hits.
When he departed in the fourth over, the score read 44 for 1 and it soon turned to 58 for 2 with Sehwag falling to Vinay Kumar, who is gaining a reputation for taking big wickets. The game changed in character from there on. de Villiers and Karthik preferred to deal in singles as they nudged and drove their way around. The period wasn't without its shares of thrills, with de Villiers pulling and Karthik sweeping Kumble for boundaries but it was definitely a lot quieter than at the start.
It threatened to get grimmer for Delhi when Karthik and de Villiers got run out - Karthik backed up too far at the non-striker's end and de Villiers was caught short by a direct hit from Eoin Morgan at backward point - but Jadhav, an unknown commodity for many of the Bangalore bowlers, connected with a few big hits to push Delhi towards a strong total. The shot of his stay was an audacious flat-batted six over long-on to a short delivery from Jacques Kallis, and he moved around the crease and also threw in a few deft shots - a late cut against Kumble being the highlight. The bowlers, caught off-guard, didn't know whether to bounce at him or bowl full, and Jadhav exploited that to the fullest to push Delhi to a very competitive total.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo