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Devils get their due

Gautam Gambhir played a captain's knock as the Delhi Daredevils won a match they had to but could not improve their net run rate substantially in Chennai. Chasing a modest 113, they won by six wickets with only eight balls to spare, reports Nikhilesh Bhattacharya.

cricket Updated: Apr 16, 2010 00:37 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Gautam Gambhir played a captain's knock as the Delhi Daredevils won a match they had to but could not improve their net run rate substantially in Chennai on Thursday. Chasing a modest 113, they won by six wickets with only eight balls to spare.

The Daredevils will know whether they can make the semi-finals after their last match, against the Deccan Chargers whom they take at the Kotla on Sunday.

The Chennai Super Kings lost, but they will go into their last match against Kings XI Punjab believing that a win can see them through.

When the Daredevils began their chase, R. Ashwin gave the Super Kings an early breakthrough once again as Murali Vijay dived at cover and caught David Warner's uppish cut.

Doug Bollinger sent back Virender Sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan in quick succession and the crowd went wild.

Gambhir took the score forward in partnerships with Dinesh Karthik and Mithun Manhas. Although they could never break free completely, they patiently worked the ball around to inch their side towards the target.

In the first innings, the largest cheer went up when the Super Kings reached 100. That was the 19th over.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss, but little went right for him after that as the Daredevils dismantled the Super Kings' batting with a combination of left-arm pace and part-time off-spin.

Drik Nannes was coming back from an injury and Ashish Nehra has recently recovered. However, instead of looking rusty, they looked well rested.

Matthew Hayden's poor form continued. He failed to make the most of a let-off and ballooned a Nehra delivery over cover. Daredevils’ English import Paul Collingwood ran towards the boundary and caught it easily.

It set the tone for the Daredevils' fielding, which was sharp for the most part of the contest.

Dhoni, who promoted himself to No. 3, and Vijay were done in by short balls.

Suresh Raina and Muke Hussey tried to stitch a partnership but fell to the part-time spin of Dilshan and Sehwag, who were introduced ahead of regular leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

Things kept going from bad to worse and only S. Badrinath stuck around.

However, Badrinath does not have too many big shots and got little opportunity to try some. Bollinger hit a four and a six and the crowd chanted his name for a while in a half-hearted way as the Super Kings' put up 112 for nine wickets.