There were hints in Cape Town on Wednesday that things were returning to normal. After being dominated by the ball in the first few matches of IPL-II barring the truncated ones, the bat became the dominant weapon again courtesy Adam Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid.
Following the script here on Thursday, fans got the kind of excitement they expect in T20. Batsmen called the shots and displayed a variety of strokes to register the highest and third-highest totals of the competition. Delhi Daredevils won in the end because they hit the big ones more consistently and had fewer lean spells than the Chennai Superkings.
The start was anti-climactic with the Daredevils losing their dreaded opening pair in two overs. It was the turn of the others to prove that their team was not all about the Gambhirs and Sehwags of the world. Tillakaratne Dilshan provided momentum to the repair work with a combination of conventional and unorthodox shots.
Watching Dilshan quietly from the other end and letting him enjoy most of the strike, AB de Villiers took charge in the second half of the innings. If the exhibition of big hits was exhilarating, it was monotonous at the same time for the regularity of the fours and sixes. The mid-wicket region was peppered with hits over and across the fence and the second 50 in the first century of IPL-II came off 16 balls.
Matthew Hayden was equally destructive when the Superkings started chasing and they were ahead of the asking rate till about the halfway stage. Suresh Raina too helped the team stay in the hunt but the blows dealt by Pradeep Sangwan and Daniel Vettori proved decisive.
The turnout wasn’t big but those present had a great time. They made good use of the beer and went berserk when the ball started getting carted around. The bowlers hated it although IPL-II started delivering what it had promised.