Devils dare in Kings’ lair
Skipper Gautam Gambhir led the batting charge with a brilliant 54-ball 72 as Delhi Daredevils opened their Indian Premier League campaign on a winning note snatching a five-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling encounter in Mohali, reports Subhash Rajta. 10 things you wanted to know about IPLcricket Updated: Mar 14, 2010 01:43 IST
Being an India player, Gautam Gambhir would probably have expected a huge round of applause after he took a spectacular catch to see off Yuvraj Singh. Instead, the Delhi Daredevils captain was greeted with stunned silence. The crowd probably wanted to lynch him for spoiling the ‘Yuvi Show’ they had trooped in to watch by the hundreds.
Nevertheless, Gambhir had dealt hosts Kings XI a body blow and removed what could have been the biggest hurdle in their march to victory. In the end, the Kings XI innings just sputtered and stuttered, but despite Ravi Bopara’s solid innings at one end, couldn’t really get going. All they got on board to challenge a formidable Delhi batting line-up was 142 --- and unless they brought off a miracle, it was never going to be enough as Delhi bat deep.
That catch was just a small part of the stellar role Gambhir (72) was to play in the Daredevils eventually winning by five wickets. Even as others fell by the wayside, Gambhir stood firm like a rock to almost guide his team home, falling with the Daredevils needing three off four balls. His departure made it a little too close for comfort at the end, but the steady hand and head of Mithun Manhas (31*) saw Delhi home.
But before Gambhir embarked on a typically cool and composed knock, Sreesanth showed how good he can be on his day. The speedster was bang on target from the first ball and was rewarded with the wickets of Virender Sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan in his very first over. The loss of two big wickets early on brought Kings XI back into the game briefly, and put the visitors under tremendous pressure, clearly evident in the manner how AB de Villiers got run out soon after.
Kings XI might have started fancying their chances at that point, but Gambhir, however, proved to be an insurmountable roadblock. The skipper soaked in all the pressure, cut down on all risky strokes and kept the scoreboard moving picking up odd boundaries.
Earlier, the stingy Dirk Nannes continued to be the ace up Delhi’s sleeve.