Kevin Pietersen almost managed to switch it on here at Port Elizabeth on Sunday. Unfortunately though, just when it looked like he’d get a good score in, it was the switch-hit he had made so famous that did him in.
However, during those 40 minutes he spent at the crease, the IPL’s costliest cricketer did show glimpses of why Vijay Mallya and his team of CEOs were willing to bet huge money on him.
In the end, though, KP’s Royal Challengers could just set a target of 159, and Team Delhi won the game courtesy a rocking and entertaining partnership under pressure between Tillakaratne Dilshan (67 not out; 47b, 5×4, 1×6) and Mithun Manhas and some really poor fielding on the part of the Royal Challengers.
Team Delhi are unbeaten so far in the tournament and are fast shaping up as the team to beat.
There is just one game remaining for the England batsman before he returns home and it seemed like KP had decided to show his money’s worth this time. There were two sixes and two fours coming off the bowling of Ashish Nehra and Daniel Vettori. The first six went over long-on off Nehra and the second over deep mid-wicket off Vettori. Vettori did have the last laugh, though, bowling Pietersen while he tried to switch. Until then, he was confidence personified.
The Royal Challengers’ biggest problem so far in the tournament has been their inability to lift themselves after bad starts. Pietersen fought those odds on Sunday, taking his side from 10-2 to 72-3 before being dismissed. Until now, the burden had been shouldered to an extent by Rahul Dravid.