Delhi Daredevils 123 for 7 (Sehwag 52) beat Perth Scorchers 121 for 5 (S Marsh 39, Morkel 3-19) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The clouds hung heavy over Newlands but the rain that has blighted much of this Champions League Twenty20 stayed away, allowing a tight and intense encounter that ended with Delhi Daredevils moving top of the group. The headliner for Daredevils was the much-maligned Ajit Agarkar, who took two big wickets before coolly finishing off the game with the bat.
Though Perth Scorchers were eliminated after this defeat, they showed typical Australian tenaciousness to take the match to the final over. On a track where it was tough for the batsmen to time the ball, Scorchers could run up only 121, a score which is rarely defended in Twenty20 cricket and which looked even smaller given the heavyweights in the Daredevils batting. The heads didn't drop, however, and they steadily chipped away at the Daredevils.
Their appetite for a scrap was highlighted by Nathan Rimmington. In the 15th over, Virender Sehwag, nearing a half-century and the last big-name batsman remaining, slashed a chance to third man, where Rimmington fluffed the catch, and for a six too. In a low-scoring match, that seemed the slip that would seal Scorchers' fate. Instead, Rimmington hit back by removing Irfan Pathan off the very next delivery, and then getting the critical wicket of Sehwag three balls later.
That set up a tense finale. Naman Ojha, the last recognised batsman, put away a short delivery from Brad Hogg for four, but was otherwise ill at ease. He nicked a jaffa from Nathan Coulter-Nile to the keeper in the 18th over but wasn't given out, though two balls later he edged it once more, and this time there was no need for the umpire to even raise his finger as the deviation was so clear.
Three wickets in hand, and 17 to get off the final two overs on a difficult track. Not a problem for Agarkar, who carved an inside-out lofted off drive for four in the penultimate over, before crashing a low full toss for four on the first ball of the final over to ease Daredevils towards victory.
The trickiness of the pitch was shown by Sehwag's scoring pattern. Usually a batsman who loves the boundaries, and isn't the keenest between the wickets, Sehwag had to run 30 of his 52 and was regularly looking for the quick single, instead of the massive hit out of the park. He was the only one of the Daredevils batting stars to get to double-digits: Mahela Jayawardene guided a half-volley to short fine leg, Ross Taylor missed a straighter one from Michael Beer and Kevin Pietersen miscued to backward point.
Daredevils' other overseas player, Morne Morkel, was at his best, though, as were the rest of their four-pronged pace attack. After Morkel bowled Herschelle Gibbs in the first over, Shaun Marsh and Simon Katich re-built the innings with a 73-run stand. They could step up the pace, though, and just as they looked to open out, Agarkar removed both to suck the momentum midway through the innings.
Morkel, Daredevils' bowler of the tournament in the IPL, then returned to inflict more damage. The highlight was the 19th over, when with Scorchers looking to swing at everything, he conceded just a single and dismissed the dangerous Mitchell Marsh.
Despite the batting letdown, Scorchers gave it their all but couldn't dent the chances of the only IPL team still alive in the tournament.