Delhi outdid Mumbai in the batting collapse stakes and provided much-needed relief to the 50,000-plus crowd that had gathered at the shiny new DY Patil Stadium on the outskirts of the country's financial capital. Mukesh Ambani's most expensive Indian Premier League team scored a strong 29-run win over Delhi, ensuring that their reign at the top of the table was short-lived.
Top-order brain freeze
With only 163 needed for victory on a good batting surface, Delhi's top order merely needed to ensure that they laid a strong foundation. But it seems they only bat in one gear, overdrive, and when it does not come off it leaves the men to follow in an unfamiliar role of having work to do. Gautam Gambhir fell to his Delhi statemate Ashish Nehra, backing away and punching a catch straight to short cover. Shikhar Dhawan, keen to prove that he is not far behind Gambhir, did exactly the same, only to Shaun Pollock. At 4 for 2 Delhi left the door wide open for what was to follow.
Viru’s orange cap
Fortunately for Delhi, their captain was in fine nick and even wickets falling at the other did not tempt Virender Sehwag into curbing his natural aggression. His hitting over cover was crisp and energetic and in the course of his 40 he became the highest run-getter in the tournament — he has 247 runs at a strike-rate of 199.19 — but it would not be enough.
With AB de Villiers being run-out when he was backing up too far and a Sehwag straight drive ricocheted onto the stumps off the bowler's hand, it was crucial Sehwag spend time at the crease. But a full-toss from Dominic Thornley was too juicy to resist and Sehwag heaved hard, but failed to clear midwicket. At 82 for 4, a middle-order that has scarcely been tested was exposed.
Shoaib Malik is neither a power-hitter nor hare between the wickets. When left with the job of ensuring his team scored the 82 needed off 56 balls, he faltered. Unsure whether to attack or accumulate, he was tentative, and ended up consuming 22 balls for a 24 that ended with a Pollock slower ball that Malik could only hit high in the air for Abhishek Nayar to catch. Dinesh Karthik played a couple of authoritative pulls but he too scored at an ODI rather than T20 rate, making 28 off 23 balls before the pressure of the required rate induced a concentration lapse that Dwayne Bravo exploited with a perfectly disguised slower ball winning the lbw decision. Delhi still needed 44 from 23 balls and they went down swinging, bowled out for 133 with more than an over to spare.
Team over individual
With Sachin Tendulkar still benched, Mumbai lacked the one big batting star, and yet they pulled through with momentum in critical phases of the innings. Sanath Jayasuriya was the first of the three batsmen to get out in the 30s, and he provided the early energy.
In the mid-section Thornley chimed in with 30 and finally at the death Pollock creamed 33 off only 15 to push the score on to 162. When Mumbai defended, their fielding was top notch, and catches went straight to hand, and 162 seemed bigger than it was, certainly enough to topple Delhi.