Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag single-handedly demolished Deccan Chargers bowlers with a blistering century to guide his team to a four-wicket victory in an IPL match here on Thursday.
Chasing a stiff target of 176, Sehwag took the Chargers attack to the cleaners scoring 119 from only 56 balls with the help of 13 fours and six sixes as his teammates had little contribution in the winning cause.
With eight points, Daredevils stay in the hunt for play-offs as it was curtains for Chargers who looked favourites till Sehwag struck like a tornado. It was one of the most scintillating innings that one would have ever witnessed as Sehwag took it upon himself to accomplish what looked like mission impossible after Daredevils were reduced to 25 for three.
Fortune favours the brave and Sehwag got a couple respite due to sloppy fielding from the home team that saw couple of catches being dropped. There couldn’t have been a better birthday gift for his younger son than a blazing century. Finally, when he was out in the 17th over, even the Chargers players came up to congratulate him.
Dale Styen in right earnest removing Aaron Finch (0) off the very second delivery while Ishant Sharma quickly removed Naman Ojha (7) and Venugopal Rao (3) to reduce Daredevils to 25 for three. But little did one know that what was in store after that.
Sehwag was unusually quiet during the first seven overs. It was inexperienced Ishan Malhotra who became an easy prey. The moment he was brought into the attack, Sehwag whipped him over fine-leg for a six followed it up with another over mid-wicket. Then he hit consecutive boundaries through deep mid-wicket and straight past the bowler. 23 runs came off the eight over.
The next over from Daniel Christian saw Sehwag hit couple of more boundaries. When Amit Mishra was introduced, he launched into him to hit over long for a six. It brought up his 50 from 27 balls.
The very next delivery from Mishra saw Sehwag trying to hit over mid-wicket but the ball flew at a catchable height to Ankit Sharma at sweeper-cover who bungled big time. There was no end to Mishra’s misery as in the next over Sehwag hit one straight to long-off, which Ravi Teja not only spilled but also let it cross the boundary ropes as it brought up Delhi’s 100.
From overs 8-12, Daredevils scored 75 runs in five overs as Sehwag butchered the bowlers. With no option left, Sangakkara brought on his best bowler Steyn who was slashed through point and then guided through the fine-leg region for two boundaries.
He slog swept Mishra for a six to get into the 90’s. When Bharat Chipli came in he took a couple to complete his well-deserved century in 48 balls. He then hit Chipli for two more sixes and a boundary as Daredevils closed in on a win.
Earlier, Duminy finally came good with a slice of luck as his smashing 55 helped Deccan Chargers post a challenging 175 for five against Delhi Daredevils in what was a must-win game for both. It was Duminy’s power-hitting that saw Chargers score a whopping 108 runs in the last 10 overs after scoring 67 in the first 10.
Off-spinner Yogesh Nagar ‘dismissed’ both Duminy and Daniel Christian (27, 22 balls, 2x4) in the 15th over.
Tragically, on both occasions he overstepped. While Christian got a boundary off the free-hit, Duminy’s aerial shot yielded maximum results.
That over from Nagar cost Daredevils 20 runs and gave the Chargers necessary impetus. While Irfan Pathan (0/18 from 3 overs) and Aavishkar Salvi (1/26 from 4 overs) bowled well, it was Nagar (0/20 from 1 over), Venugopal Rao (0/12 from1 over) and James Hopes (1/29 from 3 overs) who gave away as many as 61 runs in the five overs they bowled between them.
Morne Morkel had a disappointing outing going for 37 from his four overs while Agarkar who got two wickets gave away 29 runs in his four-over spell. The duo added 71 runs in only 5.3 overs courtesy Duminy who hit as many as four sixes during his 31-ball knock. When he was finally run-out in the 18th over trying to go for a second run, Chargers had reached 158.
Shikhar Dhawan started off on a brilliant fashion with a cover drive off the very first delivery of the match bowled by Morne Morkel. Dhawan who had been a slow starter in the previous matches looked in fine nick as he found the gaps with consummate ease. His opening partner Dwarka Ravi Teja (2) was quickly removed by Aavishkar Salvi.
Dhawan (29, 18 balls, 5x4) was joined by skipper Kumar Sangakkara (44, 36 balls, who launched into Morkel hitting him for three successive boundaries in the sixth over of the innings. The first one was a slog that went over slips. It was followed with a fantastic bowler’s back drive and then another lofted drive over mid-off.
Dhawan was out trying to loft Agarkar over mid-on only to offer a simple catch to Salvi. When Venugopal Rao came in, Sangakkara hit a beautiful cover drive followed with a slog sweep. James Hopes finally got the DC skipper caught by his counterpart in the cover region.
Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag won the toss and elected to bowl first against Deccan Chargers in a must-win encounter for both the teams.
Daredevils have made three changes in their playing eleven. David Warner, van der Merwe and Umesh Yadav are out. Finch, Hopes and Salvi come into the team.
For Deccan Chargers Pragyan Ojha is left out and Ishan Malhotra comes in.
Win is a must for both Deccan and Delhi to keep their hopes alive of advancing further in the tournament and salvage prestige.
Both have played nine matches and won three each, thus having the same six points with less than half a dozen matches in hand to rise in the table.