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Delhi beat Mumbai by 5 wickets

In a must-win game, the lower order, led by Dinesh Karthik, came through in style, keeping Delhi afloat in the tournament. A report by Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: May 25, 2008 01:46 IST
Anand Vasu

All through the tournament, Delhi have depended on their top-order to set up and sometimes even finish matches for them. When push came to shove, in a must-win game that went down to the wire, the lower order, led by Dinesh Karthik, came through in style, keeping Delhi afloat in the tournament.

When the going got tough

Virender Sehwag looked in pristine touch when the pursuit of 177 began, hitting Shaun Pollock over onside and off with consummate ease. But when Ashish Nehra slanted one into leg stump from over the wickets, Sehwag had walked too far across in his attempted flick, and had his leg stump knocked out of the ground. At 20 for 1 Mumbai had made the first deep cut.

Gautam Gambhir, leading run-scorer in the tournament, chanced his arm one time too many against Andre Nel, launching a ball high rather than wide to be caught in the deep. 50 for 2 put the skids on Delhi.

Shikhar Dhawan the final batting pillar of this Delhi campaign, did not seem completely at ease and looked increasingly desperate to pick off the big shots when one such attempt --- off Dwayne Smith's medium pace --- ballooned straight to mid-on, leaving Delhi in dire straits at 89 for 3.

Karthik kicks in

After the top three had gone, Tillakaratne Dilshan played inside Smith for a first-ball duck and when Manoj Tiwary, who had essayed some ferocious and well-placed hits in the course of his 36, was run out in a senseless mix-up, it was all down to Karthik. All through the tournament, he has failed to make the best of his chances in front of the stumps, but when it mattered he showed why the team management backs him. Sweeping hard square of the wicket, slashing cleverly down to wide third-man and chipping inside out with control, Karthik played a steely innings that would make most proud. When Karthik smacked a straight six off Nel to bring up his 50, the crowd was on its feet.And it was only fitting that he watched from the non-striker's end, unbeaten on 56 when Farveez Maharoof struck the winning runs with a ball to spare.

Double-barrel fire

Sanath Jayasuriya played back down the ground with the same ease that he employed in brutalising the ball square of the wicket. Sachin Tendulkar proved the perfect foil for Jayasuriya, gliding to the third-man boundary and check-driving through cover as though it were a Test match. The 50 of the partnership came in only the sixth over, with Jayasuriya easily outscoring Tendulkar. While the mauling was on, a wicket fell against the run of play, the opening stand being terminated on 70. Yomahesh got one to come back in and slip past Tendulkar's bat, pegging back the leg stump, bringing Delhi right back in the game.

Stutter, then the finish

Dwayne Smith toe-ended a catch to long-off on 17 and Jayasuriya (66) holed out in the deep off Amit Mishra. When Abhishek Nayar slapped a catch to mid-on, Mumbai had lost three wickets for seven runs. Robin Uthappa then pulled all stops, beginning cheekily with chips over the on side, and ending with a flurry of big hits back down the ground, rattling off 46 from 23 balls. Mumbai made it to 176 but it would not prove to be enough.