When Kevin Pietersen left for England after playing just eight games, there was a fear how Delhi Daredevils would cope in the absence of a player who has put them on a winning path. There was also a concern whether David Warner – his replacement – would be able to keep Delhi in that same aggressive mode which was pretty much missing in the last two editions of the tournament. But a rapid-fire 109 not out off 54 smacked by the diminutive opener against Deccan Chargers on Thursday have put all the apprehensions to rest.
Chasing anything beyond 180 is always a difficult task, and if you lose your captain, that too a power-hitter like Virender Sehwag, in the very first over, things are bound to get edgy. But the way Warner shouldered the responsibility of leading the big chase tells the confidence the pocket-sized batsman carries. And though he was ably supported by Naman Ojha, who too contributed with 64 not out off 46, it was Warner who stole the limelight, and sent Delhi into the playoffs. His seven sixes and ten fours overshadowed the five maximums and nine boundaries hit by Deccan’s Shikhar Dhawan in his 49-ball 84.
Though short in size, Warner’s ability to clear the fence is second to none. The lower batlift helps the left-hander generate an extra power behind his shots, and the full swing of the blade assists him in launching the ball into the stands. Whether the ball is full or short, outside off or on his legs, Warner has the ability to maneuver it both with power and deftness. If his cut shots thud into the boundary, his lofted strokes sail into the stands. And his super-quick running between the wickets also comes into the bargain, taking his game to another level.
Along with bowling useful leg-spin, which can be used at some stage during the IPL, Warner also brings great agility while fielding. And no wonder why captains like putting him at backward point or in the V (the area between long-on and long-off), as they are considered to be the regions where most balls get hit and where your best fielders are expected to be placed.
Just like Pietersen’s assault set the tone for Delhi, Warner’s onslaught is helping them maintaining that momentum. And as the league enters its business end, every Delhi fan will hope that the little pocket dynamite continues to explode the way he has so far.