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Sehwag masterclass lifts Delhi to victory

Virender Sehwag hits one over extra cover Associated Press

Virender Sehwag showcased his class on a tricky Nehru Stadium surface on which numerous deliveries hardly got up above ankle height. Sehwag took his time before exploding in the end to lift Delhi Daredevils to 157, a score that proved beyond Kochi Tuskers Kerala and breathed some life in to Delhi's doddering campaign. In a knock that must surely go down as one of the best IPL innings, Sehwag smashed 49 off his last 15 deliveries to surge to 80 off 47, on a wicket where even survival was an achievement for batsmen.

Kochi ran in to a determined Sehwag who, quickly realising that his usual cavalier style was not going to work, changed his approach, playing as safely as a Sehwag can. Delhi's innings was built around a 56-run stand between Yogesh Nagar and Sehwag after Venugopal Rao fell to leave them at 35 for 3 in the seventh over. The extent to which Sehwag reined himself in was evident when Delhi went without a boundary for 38 balls.

Sehwag, who was on a scarcely believable 31 off 32, broke free eventually, slamming Ravindra Jadeja for consecutive sixes over long-off and deep midwicket. On a pitch where batsmen were finding it difficult to hang in, Sehwag toyed with the bowling. The shots that had been put away came out in a torrent of calculated hitting. It rained pulls, whips, inside-out lofts, late cuts on a hapless Kochi attack. Vinay Kumar disappeared for 15 in the 15th over, B Akhil was scattered for 18 in the next.

Sehwag's complete control over his craft was on display against Ramesh Powar. Even as the offspinner tossed the ball up, Sehwag found time to dance down the track and lift him effortlessly against the turn over extra cover. His dismissal in the next over off Vinay was also characteristic, caught at deep extra cover on the edge of the rope, going inside out with three men in front of square on the off side boundary. But his charge lifted Delhi to 157, after they had been 62 for 3 in the 13th over.