The only three wins Deccan Chargers logged in IPL 4 came when they batted first. So when Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag put them in at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday, the Chargers had reason to fancy their chances after posting 175/5, their best in this edition that also matched their score against RCB in a winning cause.
How wrong they were was proved by the Delhi skipper who took the bull by its horns and in smashing a belligerent 119 (56b, 13×4, 6×6) not just added to the hosts’ misery at the venue but also sounded the death knell for Chargers in this edition.
Sehwag, though, must thank Chargers for dropping him twice, both times off Amit Mishra, which allowed him to win it for Delhi.
The teams started on an equal footing going into this game with six points apiece. The Chargers had only themselves to blame for thinking they had the match in the bag after prising out three Delhi wickets for a mere 25 runs.
The rash of wickets only seemed to inspire Sehwag. He raced to his 50 in just 27 deliveries, Ishan Malhotra bearing the brunt, conceding 23 in his first over. Mishra went for 17 in his first apart from seeing substitute Ankit Sharma dropping a sitter that completely changed the game.
Then on it was a Sehwag sizzler. The century came off a mere 48 deliveries but more importantly for Delhi he made the target seem so ridiculously easy. He had done enough — contributed 56 — in the fourth-wicket partnership of 61 runs with Travis Birt as Delhi needed 90 from the last 10.
Sehwag whittled it down to 27 from the last five — 64 came in overs 10 to 15, illustrating well in the process what happens when he stays at the wicket for a mere 89 minutes. The sixth-wicket partnership of 67 runs (36b) between Sehwag and Irfan Pathan was terminated by Dale Steyn but Delhi completed the formalities of a four-wicket win an over to spare.
The Chargers had copped a lot of flak in the run-up to the match as much for their lacklustre performance as for their choice of personnel. Thus, out went vice-captain Cameron White and Sunny Sohal. JP Duminy and Ishan Malhotra came in with local boy DB Ravi Teja moving up to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan.
Teja came a cropper but it was all action after the halfway stage. Yogesh Nagar realized the folly of bowling two no-balls in the 15th over that fetched Chargers 20 runs, both Duminy and Daniel Christian getting a reprieve — Asad Rauf’s hunch confirmed twice by the third umpire — followed by free hits which the Chargers made capital of.