Pune: A captain’s knock of 87 not out by Virender Sehwag proved decisive as Delhi Daredevils cruised to an eight-wicket win over Pune Warriors India and maintained their top spot in the IPL 5 points table.
Sehwag made 87 off 48 as Delhi overhauled Pune’s 146 with four overs to spare to register their fifth win in seven matches. Mahela Jayawardene (18 off 14) and Kevin Pietersen (27 off 21) were the two batsmen who got out, while Ross Taylor remained not out with Sehwag, who ended the match with a one-handed six over the long-on fence off leg-spinner Rahul Sharma. The right-hander was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for the ten fours and three sixes he hit during his innings.
Earlier, Manish Pandey returned to form with his 56-ball 80 and Robin Uthappa struck a 58-ball 60 as their unbeaten 145-run partnership for the third wicket took Pune to a fighting total. Electing to bat first, Pune were off to a disastrous start, losing both the in-form Jesse Ryder and skipper Sourav Ganguly inside the first two overs. The former played on an Irfan Pathan delivery back onto the stumps, while the latter was caught at third-man by Shahbaz Nadeem when he charged Morne Morkel.
Pandey and Uthappa got together when the team’s score was 1 for 2 and they batted through the innings. After adding 50 in the first ten overs, the Karnataka players accumulated 96 in the last ten, 51of which came in the last five. Pandey, who smashed three sixes and seven fours in his 56-ball knock, was also lucky as he was dropped twice during his innings. First Pietersen spilled a straightforward chance at long-on off Pawan Negi and then slow-left arm bowler Nadeem dropped a rather difficult chance in his follow-through.
Uthappa, on the other hand, played second fiddle to Pandey, giving his younger partner most of the strike. Though the home side needed a solid platform having lost two early wickets, the 50 runs scored by Pandey and Uthappa took almost 60 balls. It also denied Pune an opportunity to make use of the in-form Australian Steven Smith and attacking English batsman Luke Wright.
In their chase, although Delhi lost the wicket of Jayawardene early through a run-out, Pietersen, with his 89-run stand with Sehwag, ensured that they avenge their 20-run loss against the same opposition a few days back.