T20 is entirely a batsman’s game. Not quite. The Kotla, which has in all these IPL games bubbled with energy, wore a temperate look on Sunday. There was nothing electrifying and hot on the field, except the weather. No smash hits, no stumps cartwheeling; just a slow submersion of the Delhi Daredevils.
The Kings XI bowlers, helped by a slow, low track and Daredevils’ batsmen’s injudicious approach, managed to pack the mighty home line-up for just over 100. In reply, their batsmen didn’t need to break a sweat, though they took their time.
Teams batting first have found it easy. The Daredevils didn’t. They, apart from Gambhir, just didn’t look like willing to score.
The Delhiites, braving the heat, were treated to a set of delectable, deft and boundary-fetching touches from their skipper.
Barring Ramesh Powar’s first over, where he had David Warner all at sea, Gambhir was all over them. Irfan Pathan picked up Virender Sehwag in a freak manner, but was hammered out of the attack.
The appetiser was, however, followed by a bland course that began with the fall of Gambhir, who misjudged a single. It was poor cricket: shortish ball steered to short third man, a wide throw and a batsman stranded so far that the ‘keeper could look back and hit the stumps.
Warner followed in similar manner. That began the rot. And no one could stem it. One wicket followed the other.
Piyush Chawla, after a poor first half of the tournament, found his googlies catching prey, Yuvraj Singh looked like a bowler, Pathan came back and corrected his figures.
It wasn’t just a bowling genius, there were strokes from frustrated batsmen. Twenty20 has made batsmen feel like hunters on the pitch. When it plays slow, like on Sunday, the batsmen struggle.
Delhi Daredevils couldn’t manage to get of the hole. Imagine a Daredevils innings without a six and just eight fours, and just three after the fourth over.
And this was the first innings. Anil Kumble spoke about how bad the pitch is for the team batting second. It was bad for the first itself.