Virender Sehwag is profusely apologetic for keeping Glenn McGrath on the bench, but he can’t help it.
Dirk Nannes is just not allowing his skipper to look beyond him. The left-arm paceman has been sensational for the Delhi Daredevils, and Thursday was no different.
The Aussie gave his side a headstart when he removed the dangerous pair of Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs before they could unleash yet another charge upfront for the Deccan Chargers.
The twin dismissals set up the game nicely and the Daredevils clinched their fourth victory, by six wickets, thanks to another sensational half century from Tillakaratne Dilshan. Sehwag and Gambhir were expected to atone for their previous failures, they began the way they do but flattered to deceive yet again.
Sehwag was looking good till he was caught brilliantly at point, and Gambhir followed soon after. Worse still, the in-form AB de Villiers also fell early, disappointing the huge home crowd.
But Dilshan stood like a rock and guided his team home in the penultimate over. The Sri Lankan was aware of the task and he didn’t let the pressure get to him at any point.
Initially, he allowed Dinesh Karthik to play the role of aggressor. But when the need arose, Dilshan changed gears and was at the job.
He hammered Fidel Edwards for two boundaries and a six to seal the issue to spare his team any further anxious moments.
Earlier, the Chargers couldn’t completely recover from the initial blows dealt by Nannes. The Chargers hadn’t so far been in a situation where the openers had failed to make a solid contribution.
The middle-order came under pressure for the first time and its performance would have left skipper Gilchrist with mixed feelings. Most of the batsmen got starts, and except for Dwayne Smith, couldn’t convert them into significant totals.
The West Indian, however, came up with an aggressive 48 to help the Chargers post a modest 149.
A Gilchrist c Karthik b Nannes 8 (5b, 2x4), H Gibbs c de Villiers b Nannes 0 (4b) , A Bilakhia lbw b Vettori 22 (27b, 2x4), R Sharma c Manhas b Mishra 17 (20b, 2x4), T Suman c de Villiers b Sangwan 23 (14b, 1x4, 1x6), D Smith c Vettori b Nehra 48 (28b, 5x4, 2x6), Y Venugopal Rao b Nehra 16 (15b, 1x4), S Shoaib run out 0 (3b), RP Singh not out 2 (4b), P Ojha run out
Extras (lb 8, w 2, nb 1) 11;
Total (9 wickets) 148
Fall of wkts: 1-8, 2-19, 3-52, 4-53, 5-118, 6-139, 7-139, 8-147, 9-148 .
Bowling: D Nannes 4-0-16-2, A Nehra 4-0-30-2 (1nb), P Sangwan 4-0-24-1, A Mishra 4-0-32-1, D Vettori 3-0-23-1 (2w), T Dilshan 1-0-15-0.
G Gambhir lbw b Shoaib 17 (15b, 3x4), V Sehwag c Gibbs b Singh 20 (11b, 4x4), AB de Villiers c Ojha b Shoaib 5 (9b, 1x4), T Dilshan not out 52 (46b, 4x4, 3x6), D Karthik lbw b Ojha 41 (30b, 3x4, 1x6), M Manhas not out 3 (2b)
Extras (lb 4, w 7, nb 1) 12;
Total (4 wickets; 18.4 overs) 150; Fall of wkts: 1-30, 2-35, 3-49, 4-128
Bowling: F Edwards 3.4-0-44-0 (1nb, 3w), RP Singh 3-0-20-1 (2w), S Shoaib 4-0-20-2, P Ojha 4-0-24-1 (1w), R Sharma 1-0-10-0, D Smith 1-0-8-0, Y Venugopal Rao 2-0-20-0 (1w).