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Blues send colourless Victoria packing

On Wednesday night, an all-Australian rivalry took place in the backdrop of noisy Punjabi music and high-spirited Dilliwalas. A famous battle that was earlier restricted to the borders of Sydney and Melbourne was welcomed with open arms by the Delhi crowd and set up a night of pulsating action, reports Deepika Sharma.

cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2009 01:06 IST
Deepika Sharma

On Wednesday night, an all-Australian rivalry took place in the backdrop of noisy Punjabi music and high-spirited Dilliwalas. A famous battle that was earlier restricted to the borders of Sydney and Melbourne was welcomed with open arms by the Delhi crowd and set up a night of pulsating action. As soon as the diminutive yet highly dangerous David Warner walked on to the field, it was time to turn up the music, sit back and enjoy a roller-coaster run-feast.

With most of the matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla being damp squibs, the crowd desperately wanted some fireworks and they got it from the burning willow of Warner. The explosive opener, along with bowlers Moises Henriques and Nathan Hauritz, powered Australian domestic champions NSW Blues to a dominating 79-run victory over the Victoria Bushrangers in the first semifinal of the CL T20.

Chasing 170 to win, Victoria’s start was rocked in the very second over. Hauritz’s sharp turning off breaks removed both Rob Quiney and the dangerman Brad Hodge. What Hauritz’s spin couldn’t do, Brett Lee’s pace did for the Blues. The pacer ended up with figures of 2/15 to derail the Victoria’s chase. 90 was all Cameron White’s team could muster.

Victoria’s stars, including skipper Cameron White and David Hussey, couldn’t take charge of the chase either and left their team sinking. Earlier, Warner smashed 48 off 25 balls, with 7 fours and 2 sixes. The southpaw together with Hughes (35 off 28), gave Blues the kind of start that most teams failed to get at the Kotla wicket so far. They got past the opening bursts from pacers Shane Hardwood and Peter Siddle with ease and complied 44 runs in the first five overs.

Warner was merciless. He sent the ball to all parts of the ground. A wicket that has been labelled ‘non-batsman friendly’ proved a paradise for both Hughes and Warner. Just when the atmosphere began to heat up, the Bushrangers got the big wicket they were desperately looking for. In a tragic run out, Hughes was short of his ground after a mix-up with Hughes.

After Warner’s departure, Hughes seemed in full force in the ninth over when he struck two deliveries from spinner Jon Holland for a handsome four at long-off and a huge six at deep mid-wicket. He took his total to 27 and Blues’ to 82 for 1.