New Delhi: To beat Mumbai Indians and get off a six-match losing streak, it was always going to take something special. That is precisely what Delhi Daredevils got in the form of an unbeaten 95 from Virender Sehwag that helped turn a tough chase of 162 into a cakewalk at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday.
Sehwag roared back to form with an innings of superb timing and determination, and was supported by his Mahela Jayawardene who made 59 in a record opening stand of 151. In the final outcome, the fact that Mumbai scored seven off the first three overs and just 24 in the Powerplay was made to look very peculiar on a belter of a track.
To chase 162 Delhi needed a strong start and Sehwag and Jayawardene feasted on some ordinary bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Munaf Patel to rattle off 60 inside the Powerplay overs. Bumrah was clattered for 17 in the fourth over with Sehwag scything over cover and swinging six over long-on and Jayawardene driving exquisitely down the ground. In the next, a hapless Munaf also conceded 17. Straying onto the pads, he gave up two gift-wrapped boundaries to each opener as Delhi reached 51 for 0. Ricky Ponting promptly went back to Lasith Malinga - who gave just two singles from the first over - but he too was clipped beautifully past square leg and steered behind point for boundaries by Sehwag.
Dwayne Smith, the man Mumbai brought in for Mitchell Johnson, was swung for six by Sehwag in a 10-run first over which also saw the opener reach a much-needed fifty in 31 balls. Ponting oddly gave Smith a second over and Sehwag carved four past point, Jayawardene swept six over square leg. At the half-way mark the equation was 60 off 60 balls.
Jayawardene coolly galloped to his half-century in 34 balls, while Sehwag unfurled two excellent off-side strokes off Harbhajan Singh for four. Consecutive fours off Kieron Pollard took Sehwag to 83, which left Delhi needing 19 to win and Sehwag 17 for a century. Four of those came off the first ball of Malinga's final over as Sehwag jammed a yorker down to third man. A single followed, Jayawardene patted one to hand back the strike and Sehwag collected one more, but with the next delivery Malinga trapped Jayawardene lbw for 59. There would be not century for Sehwag as Bumrah bowled a wide and David Warner clipped four to fine leg. The winning runs came from Sehwag with a four over square leg.
Earlier, a 96-run stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma had revived Mumbai from a slow start to a strong total after Ponting opted to bat. Mumbai lost their first wicket off the second ball of the fourth over as Smith tried to repeat a shot over mid-off against Roelof van der Merwe but found the fielder. A couple fours later, Dinesh Karthik was run out at the nonstriker's end when a Tendulkar straight drive brushed Umesh Yadav's fingers. Just one run came in that over which took Mumbai to 24 for 2 after the Powerplay, the joint lowest score this season in that block.
Tendulkar suddenly woke from his slumber with a pulled six off Ajit Agarkar to give the fans something to cheer about, while Rohit collected the first of his five maximums by depositing van der Merwe over his head for a huge hit. Tendulkar received a big slice of luck when, on 37, Shahbaz Nadeem spilled a straightforward return catch. Mumbai were at that stage 70 for 2 in the 12th over, and Rohit clattered four boundaries in nine balls to take the score to 107 for 2 after 15.
Tendulkar brought up his first IPL fifty this season with a paddled six off Agarkar but fell soon after, slicing Yadav to extra cover in a two-run 17th over. Rohit swung his bat to help take 41 off the three overs before he fell for a 43-ball 73 when trying to collect his sixth six, and Pollard swung the last ball of the innings over long-on to set a challenging total. In the end, it was not nearly enough to stop Sehwag and Jayawardene.