Skipper Gautam Gambhir led the batting charge with a brilliant 54-ball 72 as Delhi Daredevils opened their Indian Premier League campaign on a winning note snatching a five-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling encounter on Saturday.
Delhi first restricted the Punjab side to 142 for nine, thanks to nice bowling by pacer duo of Dirk Nannes (2/12) and Farveez Maharoof (2/37), and then overhauled the target with just one ball to spare at the floodlit PCA Stadium.
Gambhir, who raced to his half-century off 40 balls, hit nine boundaries and one six, while he got good support from Mithun Manhas, who came out with an unbeaten 31 off 24 balls.
With 17 runs required from the last two overs, Manhas first cracked a four off Yusuf Abdulla and then Gambhir hit him for a huge six over the long-off region.
But left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan struck in the final over, off which Delhi needed four runs to win, removing Gambhir as Mahela Jayawardene took a well-judged catch.
With the scores leveled and two balls to go, Manhas finished the match with a brilliant square cut that sent the ball to the fence. Delhi made 146 for five.
However, chasing the 143-run target Delhi started on a disastrous note as they lost two wickets in the second over of the innings in the form of opener Virender Sehwag (8) and their Sri Lankan import Tillakaratne Dilshan (0).