The poor start to the Delhi Daredevils' campaign has not discouraged fans from pouring into the Ferozshah Kotla ground, and it was no different on Saturday night. One clear incentive would have been skipper Virender Sehwag, struggling so far by his lofty standards, producing a signature knock.
Those who believed that Sehwag would come good were treated to an array of shots that rattled the cruising Kings XI Punjab, whose skipper confidently inserted the home team that was languishing at the bottom of the table after losing three of their four games.
Shaun Marsh almost upstaged the Daredevils, who has piled up a huge score, as he smashed nine fours and six sixes to keep the Kings XI hopes alive. But he missed out on a deserved century trying to reach the stiff target.
It was business as usual for the aggressive Aussie David Warner on a firm, green pitch where there was mild, initial seam movement and a touch extra bounce, but the ball came on to the bat.
Viru gets going
Praveen Kumar beat Sehwag in the first over with a perfect delivery that somehow missed the edge and the stumps.
That was enough to wake up the master, who first focussed on timing and placement before unleashing a range of shots.
The 100-run opening partnership was easily the season's best for Delhi, and came in the ninth over. Sehwag first took a heavy toll of Kumar's bowling and by the time he was done — lashing David Hussey's first three balls for sixes — he had done the damage.
The 146-run opening partnership was not allowed to go waste as Warner added some more lusty blows before he was also out for the same score as his skipper.
Kings XI bowlers reduced any hopes of sealing a fourth straight victory as they spray the ball — pacers Praveen Kumar, Aussie Ryan Harris and Shalabh Srivastava were all guilty — as Delhi finally came to the party with as authoritative a batting display as has been put up in this IPL edition.
The pressure told straightaway on Kings XI's talisman Paul Valthaty, who has not put a foot wrong coming to Delhi, as he skied a catch to point to be dismissed cheaply.
Gilchrist and Marsh, fresh from his match-winning 71 against RR, brought up the 100 in the 11th over, but the target still seemed too stiff.