It might have been the brilliant batting performances that have made all the news in Delhi Daredevils Season Five campaign,but despite the format and the slow wickets in the sub-continent,the Delhi quartet of Morne Morkel,Umesh Yadav,Varun Aaron and Irfan Pathan has more than just pulled their fair share of weight.
It was no different on Tuesday,as Delhis pacemen were instrumental in keeping a resurgent Kings XI Punjab in check,as they once again picked up key wickets and kept the scoring in check as Delhi registered a five-wicket win and became the first team to book a playoff spot this season.
For once,the Ferozeshah Kotla surface always in the news for the wrong reasons hasnt played spoilsport as it wore a greenish look,supporting the only pace-led attack in this IPL. Benefiting from perfect home conditions was the pair of Umesh and Aaron,who picked up five wickets for forty in eight overs between them against KXIP.
The young Indian pacers had a big say in keeping KXIP to 136 for eight,but on Tuesday they were not the only ones who utilised the pitch to its fullest. They may have been chasing a mediocre total,but Parwinder Awana,a Delhi boy in Punjab colours,almost single-handedly threatened to ruin DDs party on his homecoming.
With a first spell that read 3-0-7-3,Awana sent back Virender Sehwag,Venugopal Rao and Ross Taylor in the space of 10 balls to have Delhi tottering at 37 for 4. But Mahela Jayawardene,a member of the much criticised Daredevils middle-order,was in no mood for an upset,notching his second match-winning half century this edition.
An unbeaten 56 from 49 balls,while sharing a 58-run partnership with Naman Ojha (34 from 29 balls),Jayawardene did what was expected of him control the middle order in the rare occasion that the openers failed. They did,and Jayawardene ensured that there was no further hiccups in the chase,as they closed it out with an over to spare.
Fast and furious
Not long after losing the toss,an experimental Sehwag decided to bowl Rao in the second over,and paid a big price as Shaun Marsh destroyed the offie with three near-identical boundaries to the off-side. Sehwag quickly reverted to his tearaway option,and introduced Varun Aaron into the attack,who in turn introduced some anarchy in the Punjab ranks by dismissing both openers in quick succession.
While Aaron got the ball to cut back in sharply,Yadav got the semi new ball to shape out and beat the bat on a number of occasions.
With the Delhi fast bowlers running havoc,it was down to Punjabs stand-in skipper David Hussey to pull off a decent rearguard effort of 40 runs (35b,5×4,1×6) to salvage a reasonable total to defend. Awana put his best foot forward. But as Tuesday night proved it,sometimes best isnt good enough.