Delhi come unstuck again

Sehwag returns but winning touch doesn’t as Daredevils slip in tight finish for 4th loss

Written by Nihal Koshie | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2013 2:13 am

With three overs to go in the match,Mahela Jayawardene initially turned to his most economical bowler on the day,Delhi Daredevils’ Johan Botha. South African off-spinner Botha and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem,the Jharkhand skipper,had brought the Dehil Daredevils back into the game by bowling with great control and giving little or no width. This after Sunrisers Hyderabad opener Parthiv Patel and skipper Kumar Sangakkara had guided the team to 46 for one,steady progress considering they were chasing only 115 for victory.

After a slow start,Patel and Sangakkara had found their timing but Jayawardene used his spinners to slow down the pace. The ploy worked as Patel edged while trying to flick,giving Nadeem a return catch. Sangakkara,after failing to pierce the backward point region,attempted the late cut once more against Botha only to see Virender Sehwag take a sharp chance at first slip.

Only eight runs were scored in 32 balls between the fall of the wickets of Patel and Sangakkara. What seemed like a modest target turned into a difficult one as the Daredevils’ bowlers,led by their two spinners,fought back to bring the Sunrisers chase to a grinding halt.

In a game in which the bowlers dominated,the best of batsmen,including the Twenty20 specialists were finding the going tough. Cameron White was the next to get into all sorts of problems against Nadeem. His eight-ball stay at the wicket ended when he gave the left-arm spinner the charge and was stumped.

Hanuma Vihari and A Ashish Reddy had brought the target closer with cameos but paceman Morne Morkel accounted for both of them. Still,the dangerous Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera remained when Jayawardene had asked Botha to bowl the 18th over of the innings. Then Jayawardene changed his mind last moment and tossed the ball to Irfan Pathan instead.

Pathan walked to his mark with Sunrisers needing 18 runs from 18 balls. Amit Mishra,who along with Dale Steyn was the pick of the Sunrisers’ bowlers,scrambled for two runs. Attempted run-outs hit Mishra in both his first and second run and Jayawardene appealed for obstruction of the field. The umpires didn’t rule in favour of the fielding side as the match seemed destined to be a low-scoring thriller.

Two balls later,Mishra took a single to give Perera the strike. But it was not the Sri Lankan all-rounder’s day. Perera’s attempt to clear long on ended in the hands of Botha on the boundary and the Daredevils celebrated as one.

Steyn joined Mishra and the duo were to change the course of the game — not for the first time this evening. Mishra upper-cut Umesh Yadav in the following over for a boundary to keep the Sunrisers in the hunt and with six needed from the last over of the match,Steyn took two runs off the first Pathan ball and then hit the left-armer for a boundary to the sightscreen to help his team topple over a nervy chase. The Daredevils,hence,suffered their fourth loss in a row.

Apt finish

In the end,it was apt that both Mishra and Steyn were at the wicket when the winning runs were scored. They were the two most economical bowlers for Sunrisers. Mishra kept it tight in the middle overs,while Steyn gave away just 11 runs in four overs and took two wickets. Steyn had bowled with such skill and pace that Ishant Sharma,who dismissed Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag off consecutive balls in the fifth over of the match,had the South African to thank for the sustained pressure from one end that forced the batsmen to hit out.

The wait for Virender Sehwag to play his first game of this edition had been excruciatingly long for the Delhi Daredevils. Nine days had passed since they had lost to KKR in the season opener and the team had suffered two more defeats – to the Rajasthan Royals at home and to the Mumbai Indians in their backyard.

On Friday,the Daredevils were back to full strength. Sehwag walked out to open with David Warner and Mahela Jayawardene was to bat at No.3. However,the Daredevils fan witnessed an anti-climax as the top-three were dismissed before the fifth over and by the end of the day,the team hadn’t yet opened their season account.

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