First win for the host watched by ‘mentor’ Viv Richards; Jayawardene plays a perfect foil
Finally, Delhi Daredevils got it right. After all, whenever Virender Sehwag explodes, the team seldom goes wrong.
On Sunday, it took an exhilarating exhibition of stroke-play from the dashing opener to end DD’s agonising wait, stretching over six defeats, for an elusive victory.
With Sehwag smashing an unbeaten 95 and skipper Mahela Jayawardene coming good, as an opener, with a 59, DD made Mumbai Indians’ challenging 161 for four look increasingly small and chased it down with nine wickets and three overs to spare.
Watched by batting legend Sir Viv Richards, who joined DD on Saturday as a ‘mentor’, Sehwag regained his touch with confidence as he plundered runs almost at will. His fireworks, sparkling with two sixes, sent MI tumbling to its second successive defeat, and third in six games.
The day saw 326 runs for just five wickets in 37 overs, built on four half-centuries, but it was Sehwag’s knock that eclipsed the second best score of 73 from Rohit Sharma.
Sehwag turned the match on its head with a flurry of boundaries in the power-play that produced 60 runs. Gaining in confidence, Sehwag continued the good work without taking undue risks. If MI expected Sehwag to toss away a good start, it was in for a surprise as the opener batted through the chase and sealed DD’s much-needed victory with his 13th four.
Opting to bat, MI shook off a poor power-play phase when it could manage just 24 runs for the wickets of make-shift opener Dwayne Smith and in-form batsman Dinesh Karthik. It was the seventh over, bowled by Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy captain Ajit Agarkar that set the pace for the visiting team. This 11-run over broke MI’s shackles and the duo of Tendulkar and Rohit never looked back.
Rohit, who hit five sixes and as many boundaries, dominated the DD bowlers. He was quick to read the length of the deliveries and punished them promptly. During his 43-ball 73, Rohit reached his half-century ahead of Tendulkar. Rohit’s stroke-play enthralled the audience even if the majority in the crowd had come to watch Tendulkar in full flow.
The little master, who had a friendly chat with Richards an hour before the start of the match, did not disappoint. His knock was dotted with two sixes and three boundaries. Lucky to survive at 37 after left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem dropped a return catch, Tendulkar went on to notch up his highest score of the season.
With MI scoring 137 runs after power-play, riding on 96-run stand off just 67 deliveries between Tendulkar and Rohit, DD had a challenging job on hand.
But the way Sehwag and Jayawardene batted, finding boundaries more with placements than power, MI attack was made to look most ordinary.
Mumbai Indians: Dwayne Smith c Umesh b van der Merwe 8 (12b, 1x4), Sachin Tendulkar c Warner b Umesh 54 (47b, 3x4, 2x6), Dinesh Karthik (run out) 2 (6b), Rohit Sharma c Russell b Umesh 73 (43b, 5x4, 5x6), Kieron Pollard (not out) 19 (10b, 1x4, 1x6), Ambati Rayudu (not out) 2 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-2): 3. Total (for four wickets in 20 overs) 161.
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Smith), 2-22 (Karthik), 3-118 (Tendulkar), 4-149 (Rohit).
Delhi Daredevils bowling: Irfan Pathan 4-0-24-0, Shahbaz Nadeem 4-0-20-0, Roelof van der Merwe 4-0-35-1, Umesh Yadav 4-0-31-2, Ajit Agarkar 3-0-37-0, Andre Russell 1-0-13-0.
Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene lbw b Maliga 59 (43b, 8x4, 1x6), Virender Sehwag (not out) 95 (57b, 13x4, 2x6), David Warner (not out) 7 (5b, 1x4); Extras (w-1, nb-3): 4. Total (for one wicket in 17 overs) 165.
Fall of wicket: 1-151 (Jayawardene).
Mumbai Indians bowling: Lasith Malinga 4-0-26-1, Jasprit Bumrah 3-0-38-0, Munaf Patel 4-0-36-0, Harbhajan Singh 3-0-30-0, Dwayne Smith 2-0-24-0, Kieron Pollard 1-0-11-0.
Man-of-the-Match: V. Sehwag.