Spectators arrived with thick blankets at the Outsurance Oval for the match between Team Jaipur and Team Delhi on Sunday evening.
The temperature was around seven degrees when the game began and by the time the first twenty overs were bowled, it had dipped to almost one.
It wasn’t easy out there, whether you were batting or bowling or simply watching it all happen. The poorest sight, of course, was of the cheerleaders, who were adequately skimpy in their dresses and had no choice but to shake a leg for every boundary, six or wicket.
All of that was in plenty as leaderboard toppers Delhi defeated Jaipur by 14 runs. In fact, they did almost everything right here, from winning the toss to posting a healthy total of 150 and getting the new-ball pair to deliver.
It dented Jaipur’s chances to the extent that, like many teams in fray, even they have to win their next two matches and probably wait and see who figures where in the net run-rate table.
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir fell cheaply after Munaf Patel got off to a very impressive start. His second over fetched the wickets of both the openers and Delhi, it appeared, were heading for a batting disorder.
That was until AB de Villiers, the cricketer who gets cheered the loudest in South Africa, came to the side’s rescue. De Villiers ensured a fighting total for his team with active support from T Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik.
In what could’ve otherwise been a pleasant outing for Munaf, his 18th over cost Jaipur 25 runs and that it seemed jolted the team’s confidence minutes before they were to walk in and bat. De Villiers and Karthik managed 48 runs in the last 20 balls.
When the chase began, Jaipur were hardly in the game. Graeme Smith went for a duck, Rob Quiney scored just six, Naman Ojha fell for nine and the only partnership to talk about was the 55-run stand for the fourth wicket. The rest who followed also fell like nine pins.
All of this wouldn’t have been so easy for Sehwag had it not been for the start provided by Ashish Nehra and Dirk Nannes.