AB De Villiers blasted a 54-ball 105 to record the first century in the second edition of the Indian Premier League as Delhi Daredevils snatched a slender nine-run win over Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling match on Thursday.
On a day which saw more than 350 runs being scored, Delhi Daredevils first posted an imposing 189 for five and then restricted the opponents just nine runs short of the target in the stipulated 20 overs.
Chasing 190, Chennai went off to a flying start, courtesy a sparkling 22-ball 50 runs by Australian Matthew Hayden but once he was back in the hut the Super Kings lost the plot completely.
Hayden was removed by Pradeep Sangwan in the eighth over and once Parthiv and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) also perished, Suresh Raina (41 off 27 balls) and Andrew Flintoff (16) joined hands to stitch together a 31-run crucial stand. Needing 42 runs in last five overs, the Super Kings could not keep the score ticking and fell like a house of cards.
Manpreet Gony (6), Joginder Sharma (4) and Laxmipathy Balaji (0) run themselves out in pursuit of quick runs and handed a narrow nine win to the Daredevils in the end.
For Delhi, Pradeep Sangwan returned with a three-wicket haul for 28 runs and Daniel Vettori scalped two crucial wickets giving away 29 runs.
Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan scored a 24-ball 50 to set the tone for the Delhi innings, while De Villiers hit a 54-ball century to propel Delhi after they were pushed to the backfoot by Chennai, removing the explosive openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir within two overs.
De Villiers’ innings was bejeweled with six massive sixes and five hits to the fence.
Electing to bat first, Delhi Daredevils were left tottering at eight for two with Gambhir losing his wicket in the very first ball of the innings.
Gambhir (0) paid the price for being overconfident as he danced down the pitch in the very first delivery off Balaji only to be caught behind by Dhoni.
Sehwag (6) soon joined him in the hut after he tried to pull a rising delivery of Manpreet Gony in the next over only to be caught by Albie Morkel at mid on.
However, new batsmen Villiers and Dilshan joined the groove and shrugged off the early disappointment to notch up a 68-run partnership in just 38 deliveries to post 76 for two in eight overs.
The duo took the attack to the swords and plundered fours and sixes at will with Dilshan leading the carnage with a 24-ball fifty studded with two sixes and seven fours, before being removed by Morkel in the ninth over.
Dinesh Karthik then joined hands with De Villiers and the two brought up the 100 in 11.2 overs before Karthik was removed by Flintoff off Balaji in the 14th over.
The South African continued the blitzkrieg sending the bowlers for the leather hunt and notched up a 74-run partnership off 34 balls with new man Manoj Tiwary contributing only nine runs.
De Villiers exploded in the end overs and blasted a couple of sixes and equal number of fours in the 18th over off Flintoff to score 22 runs to notch the highest total of the tournament.
For Chennai, Balaji returned with the best bowling figures, scalping three wickets for 19 runs.