Naman Ojha & David Warner Of Delhi Daredevils after winning the match against Deccan Chargers during 5th edition of IPL at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal. (HT Photo/Ashok Nath Dey)
Last year, David Warner's power-hitting provided rare highlights in an otherwise forgettable campaign for the Delhi Daredevils. As the Australian walked into a side unrecognisable from the previous year, there were still some doubters, simply because of the impact caused by the man who had just packed his bags for home - Kevin Pietersen. But just into his second match, Warner showed why he is so special.
Deccan Chargers opener Shikhar Dhawan was the one who made an early impact as the bottom-placed team produced a batting treat for its home crowd . However, in the end, everyone was raving about Warner, even his batting partner Naman Ojha's contribution reduced to a sidelight.
The Aussie showed how quickly he had switched to T20 mode, having grappled with the slow Dominica surface in the final Test in West Indies. The Chargers' hopes soared early after Dhawan got Virender Sehwag, but Warner hammered 109 off 54 balls as the visitors eased to an emphatic nine-wicket win with almost four overs to spare.
Combined with the second- highest partnership in IPL history with Ojha, the win not only helped the Daredevils move to the top of the points table, it also sealed a berth in the play-offs. Ten fours and seven sixes flowed from Warner's bat as the nightmare returned to haunt the Chargers bowlers, who were taken apart by Pietersen, who smashed an unbeaten 103 last month to carry the Daredevils to victory.
"It's been a long summer after playing all three formats at home and then heading to the West Indies for Tests," Warner said. "Then coming to India to play Twenty20, I'll again head off to England for the one-dayers after this."
What about the KP comparisons? "We are both professionals, it's our job to score runs but it's always a thrill to take a team to victory," he added.
It was heartbreak for the Chargers again. Despite Dhawan and Cameron White playing their hearts out for a 126-run partnership, the total eventually proved inadequate. Though the focus has been on White, the 26-year-old Dhawan has steadily moved up on the highest scorers' list. Dhawan's 84 off 49 balls, with nine fours and five sixes, lifted him to third in the list.