A chase of 146 shouldn’t have proved all difficult for the Delhi Daredevils even on the slow turner at the Ferozshah Kotla. After all, the home side possessed one of the most potent batting line-ups in the tournament. However, a sense of complacency and some extremely charged-up bowling by the Deccan Chargers led to their downfall as the visiting side advanced to the semi-finals.
Delhi lost their top four with only 39 on the board. And the rut never stopped. There was an unexpected fight towards the end when Ashish Nehra joined Paul Collingwood to feature in an undefeated eighth wicket stand of 48. Deccan still got home by a comfortable margin of 11 runs.
Looking back at the game, it was one knock which stood out as the difference between the two sides. Like Deccan, Delhi too had got off to a promising start with the ball. At one stage, the batting side were struggling at 66 for 4 after Adam Gilchrist won the toss and decided to take first strike.
Delhi were comfortably on top when Andrew Symonds decided to take charge. He lofted the ball with consummate ease against the slower bowlers and, in the process, helped Deccan gain some momentum. Amit Mishra, Paul Collingwood as well as Tillakaratne Dilshan were slammed for sixes.
He hit five in all en route to a scintillating 34-ball 54. During this phase, he was well supported by rookie Mitchell Marsh. The youngster’s contribution of 13 from 19 balls may look ungainly in the scorecard. But, in the context of the game, it was precious. His most significant contribution was handing the strike over to Symonds, which was the need of the hour for Deccan.
Once Symonds fell though Delhi got themselves back on track. The bowlers conceded less than a run-a-ball in the last five overs to restrict Deccan’s mini-resurrection. Like at the end, the home side were sensational with the ball in the early part of the innings too.
The out of sorts Gilchrist was once again consumed early by Ashish Nehra while Umesh Yadav’s extreme pace did the trick for him. The bowler’s speed was too much to handle even for the in-form T Suman and Rohit Sharma, the former had his stumps shattered while the latter edged one behind the wickets.
At the halfway stage, Delhi would have fancied their chances to booking their semis berth. But, they only have themselves to blame for letting a golden opportunity pass by. Virender Sehwag was given a reprieve very early in the innings when Rohit Sharma spilled a tough chance off Chaminda Vaas’ bowling.
The same combination though combined to end Sehwag’s short stay at the crease not much later. Disappointingly, David Warner and Dilshan fell to rash strokes. The left-hander flirted outside the off-stump while the Sri Lankan went for a predetermined lap sweep, which saw him being trapped in front off Harmeet Singh’s bowling.
Coming in at 25 for 3, there was extreme pressure on the skipper. But, this time even Gautam Gambhir couldn’t bail the side out. With the pressure mounting, Mithun Manhas was run-out for 23 following a mix-up with Collingwood. Clearly, Delhi had underestimated Deccan’s bowling prowess. And by the time they realized this, it was too late. Collingwood did smash a few big ones towards the end, as did Nehra. But, after the initial disaster, they were always fighting a losing battle.
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