Delhi finally got off the jinxed 8-point mark and stayed alive in the hunt for a semifinal spot with a tight 12-run win over the beleaguered Hyderabad team. Delhi's batsmen set things up and their bowlers hung on for a crucial win.
Flattering to deceive
Adam Gilchrist hit the ground running, Shahid Afridi opened the innings for the first time in the tournament and Herschelle Gibbs set the Kotla ablaze but none of them made more than 33 and all were dismissed with only 75 on the board and even valiant efforts from Rohit Sharma and Venugopala Rao were not enough to take their team home.
Gilchrist (14) fell to a stunning catch at mid-off, Tillakaratne Dilshan diving low and forward. Afridi (33), who had clattered Glenn McGrath for a huge six over cover, slashed Amit Mishra's first ball straight up in the air. Mishra would end with 5 for 17, including a last-over hattrick. Gibbs, whose sweetly timed whip over the on-side silenced the Delhi faithful, charged down the track and failed to pick a googly and was comprehensively bowled.
Sharma kept things going and the 100 came in the 12th over. Rajat Bhatia, who conceded only 7 from two quiet overs, was taken to the cleaners in his third, being smacked for 19. But Farveez Maharoof weighed in with a full ball that Sharma (35) unwisely tried to paddle and was clean bowled. From there on, Delhi were home safe.
The fall of Virender Sehwag for a duck and a painful blow on the knee did not dampen Gautam Gambhir's enthusiasm. Gambhir struck the ball remarkably cleanly and once again forged a vital partnership with Shikhar Dhawan.
Gambhir went after RP Singh, heaving him for a huge six over backward square-leg, then flat-batting the next ball over midwicket, capping things off with a charge down the pitch that resulted in a slashed four over point. It would be the only 20-run over of the innings.
Pressing home the advantage
Having seen off a short period of consolidation Gambhir innovated. He paddled Sarvesh Kumar very fine and followed it up by rocking back and cutting down to third-man. Gambhir brought up his half-century off only 34 balls, and then scored at a 200-plus strike-rate for the rest of his innings. When Gambhir fell he had made 79 off 48 balls. Gambhir went down the pitch early and Pragyan Ojha fired a wide down leg side for Adam Gilchrist to effect the stumping.
Playing his role
In the past, Dhawan has shown he has the talent, but on the day he showed temperament. Resisting the urge to compete with Gambhir, Dhawan waited for loose balls. Crucially, Dhawan resisted the urge to loft the ball, hitting through the field rather than over it.
Dhawan was unbeaten to the end, on 68 from 52 and had played his part in Delhi reaching 194 for 4, a score they could defend.