Following their magnificent chase against the Pune Warriors, the Delhi Daredevils would have been in a confident frame of mind going into the match against the Deccan Chargers. However, everything came to naught as their batsmen struggled chasing a challenging, but hardly overwhelming, target of 169. Only David Warner, who has been the Daredevils’ best batsman, stuck it out for yet another half century, but the rest struggled and even a late assault by the relatively unknown Yogesh Nagar could not reduce the margin of deficit. This was after Sunny Sohal and Kumar Sangakkara combined to put Deccan in charge with a precision-like 92 run stand. The Daredevils did fight back well with the ball, following the dismissal of the two. But, with their weak batting faltering once again, it just was not enough.
At the end of the day, the partnership between Sohal and Sangakkara proved to be the decisive one. Things began well for the Chargers with Sohal driving the first ball of the day to the boundary. Shikhar Dhawan also got into the act, slamming a couple of fours. But, Irfan Pathan got the breakthrough for Delhi, pegging back Dhawan’s furniture. However, Delhi had little reason to smile after that as Sohal and Sangakkara went about their task in a refined manner. Neither player resorted to slog cricket. While Sohal used deft touches and drove with gentle ease, Sangakkara dominated the spinners, driving and lofting them with great success.
The important factor of their partnership was that both kept finding the boundaries at will, without taking too many risks. Sangakkara took left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem to the cleaners, depositing him into the stands and also claiming a couple of boundaries. When the youngster Nagar was introduced, he too was treated with equal disdain, the former Lankan captain driving him for a couple of boundaries. All this while, Sohal was content with his deft play, before he too opened up after reaching his half century. Sohal took on Morne Morkel successfully, blasting him for a six and a four.
At 106 for 1 in the 12th over, things did not look bright for the Daredevils, but they fought back thanks to some good bowling in the second half of the innings. Ashok Dinda made the breakthrough, getting Sangakkara caught in the covers, one short of a well deserved half century. A little later, Sohal also fell to Nadeem trying to move on with things. Cameron White did contribute an unbeaten 31, but it wasn’t his fluent or quickfire knock that could have taken the game away from the Daredevils.
Having chased down 180 the other day, the Daredevils would have been confident of surpassing this total as well. For that though they needed both Sehwag and Warner to fire. The initial signs were highly promising with Sehwag racing off the blocks with three successive fours. However, Harmeet Singh, playing in his first game, undid Sehwag and the wheels just fell off the innings from that point. Aaron Finch departed first ball while Naman Ojha was claimed by Daniel Christian before he had scored too many.
Once again, it was left to Warner and Venugopal Rao to do the rescue act. They did put their best foot forward, but with the pitch offering spin neither could repeat their heroics of the last game. Eventually, Rao fell for 21, which came at less than a run a ball, while Warner could manage on 51 despite being at the crease for 15 overs. When he fell, Delhi were still one short of 100. All the bowlers combined well to restrict the Daredevils, and Nagar’s final act was a mere consolation joy of some big hits.
(Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals match abandoned at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore without a ball being bowled due to persistent rain.)
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