One couldn't help feeling sorry for the Deccan Chargers cheerleaders on Friday evening. The girls normally dance between overs, after their players hit a four or six and when they take wickets. With Adam Gilchrist going berserk, they had to be on their feet after almost every ball and dance non-stop.
That's exaggerating it, only slightly. Gilchrist hit eight fours and two sixes in 16 balls to bring up the fastest 50 in IPL history and as you can make out, the dancing beauties were kept busier than usual. The heavy shelling continued and the girls must have tired like never before after the 35-ball 86 that reduced a potential potboiler to a no-contest.
Gilchrist has to his credit a 104-ball 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. What he did against Delhi Daredevils in the first semi-final of IPL II was from a different cosmic world. The pace was supersonic, the methods conventional. There was the cross-batted slap off full tosses, but the rest was textbook enough to placate the purists that T20 aggression is not always about challenging the tried and tested techniques.
There was a fair share of that when the Daredevils batted. Zero for two after the first over became 49 for two after six following the collaboration of Virender Sehwag and Tillekeratne Dilshan. They were helped by a slew of short balls from both ends, as the big percentage of runs square off the wicket would testify.
They looked set for a real big one at 83 for two from 10 overs until things slowed down after the strategic break. Sehwag was gone soon and his team still got a highly respectable total courtesy Dilshan who was called back after stepping into the ground after the fall of the second wicket.
The umpires ruled he had to walk in because he had already entered the ground. The Daredevils had no reason to rue that decision. Dilshan formed the backbone of the innings for the umpteenth time in the competition and it seemed as if there was enough meat in the total to challenge the Chargers.
It was impossible to foresee that making a complete mockery of that challenge was possible. As that happened putting Dardedevils on exit route in the semi-final satge again, the sellout crowd couldn't believe it. Most of them were neutral so they loved it once it sank in. Ask the cheerleaders for confirmation.
G Gambhir c Singh b Harris 0 (5b), D Warner c Gibbs b Harris 0 (1b), V Sehwag lbw b Symonds 39 (31b, 5x4), T Dilshan run out 65 (51b, 7x4, 1x6), AB de Villiers c Gilchrist b Singh 26 (21, 2x6), D Karthik b Harris 9 (8b, 1x6), R Bhatia c Venugopal Rao b Singh 4 (2b, 1x4), A Mishra run out 0 (1b), P Sangwan not out 0 (1b)
Extras (b 5, w 4, nb 1) 10; Total (8 wickets) 153; Fall of wkts: 1-0, 2-0, 3-85, 4-133, 5-145, 6-151, 7-153, 8-153; Bowling: R Harris 4-1-27-3, RP Singh 4-0-33-2, P Ojha 3-0-27-0, A Symonds 3-0-20-1, Harmeet Singh 3-0-15-0, R Sharma 3-0-26-0.
A Gilchrist c Nannes b Mishra 85 (35b, 10x4, 5x6), H Gibbs b Nehra 0 (2b), A Bilakhia st Karthik b Mishra 10 (20b), T Suman not out 24 (25b, 3x4, A Symonds c Warner b Mishra 24 (15b, 2x4, 1x6), R Sharma not out 5 (11b). Extras: (w-4, nb-2) 6 Total: (for 4 wkts in 17.4 ovs) 154. Fall of wkts: 1-22, 2-91, 3-102, 4-137. Bowling: P Nannes 3-0-38-0, A Nehra 4-0-38-1, P Sangwan 2.4-0-21-0, T Dilshan 3-0-13-0, V Sehwag 1-0-25-0, A Mishra 4-0-19-3.
Man of the Match: Gilchrist