Can a knock on the helmet bring the best out of a batsman? Well, on Wednesday it did. After being struck on the grill by an R.P. Singh lifter on the fifth ball of the penultimate over, Dinesh Karthik hit the next one for six and hammered 18 more in the five balls he faced in the 20th over. It took the Delhi Daredevils to an unlikely 173 which was enough to seal a 12-run win and a spot in the semifinals.
This was supposed to be a clash of two potential semi-finalists. To live up to that billing, the teams had to come up with high-intensity stuff.
The Daredevils were sent into bat and expectations were high following the return of Virender Sehwag who missed the last four matches with a finger injury. The skipper pushed himself down to No. 5 to keep intact the successful opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and David Warner. Both however had an off day.
Sehwag too failed to cash in on an early reprieve and when Tillekeratne Dilshan and A.B. de Villiers fell after good starts, Daredevils were in danger of falling short of a good total. The Karthik blitz which fetched 23 from the last over bowled by Chaminda Vaas made up for the momentum lost in the middle.
If Karthik's cameo was adventurous, Gilchrist's reply was like a stroll in the park. After caressing the first ball past point and milking 17 from the first over, he displayed an amazing combination of timing and power.
There were silken drives along the ground and towering hits deep into the stands. Solely due to him were the Chargers in the hunt for most part of the match. But once he and Andrew Symonds, who made 41, fell, the Chargers lost their way.
G Gambhir c Venugopal Rao b Ojha 19 (25b, 1x6), D Warner c Venugopal Rao b Vaas4 (6b), T Dilshan c Ravi Teja b Symonds 37 (18b, 7x4, 1x6), AB de Villiers c Ravi Teja b Smith 44 (36b, 4x4, 1x6), V Sehwag c Symonds b Vaas 11 (10b, 1x4), D Karthik not out 44 (23b, 4x4, 3x6), R Bhatia c Shoaib b Ojha 0 (1b), A Mishra run out (Gilchrist) 2 (3b), P Sangwan not out 0; Extras (lb 1, w 9, nb 2) 12; Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 173; Fall of wickets1-7, 2-57, 3-80, 4-103, 5-130, 6-131, 7-150; Bowling: RP Singh 4-0-26-0, C Vaas 4-0-52-2, A Symonds 3-0-19-1, S Shoaib 1-0-24-0, P Ojha 4-0-26-2, D Smith 4-0-25-1
T Suman c Nehra b Sangwan 3 (7b), A Gilchrist b Sangwan 64 (33b, 5x4, 5x6), R Sharma c Warner b Sangwan 6 (7b, 1x4), Ravi Teja c Bhatia b Nannes 27 (34b, 3x4), A Symonds b Bhatia 41 (22b, 3x4, 2x6), D Smith b Bhatia 1 (2b), V Rao c Karthik b Nehra 1 (3b), C Vaas not out 10 (6b, 1x4), RP Singh run out 0 (1b), P Ojha b Bhatia 0 (2b), S Shoaib c de Villers b Bhatia 0 (1b)
Extras (lb 3, w 5) 8
Total (all out; 19.4 overs) 161
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-40, 3-86, 4-149, 5-150, 6-151, 7-155, 8-155, 9-161, 10-161
Bowling: A Nehra 4-0-47-1, D Nannes 4-0-31-1, P Sangwan 4-1-18-3, T Dilshan 2-0-8-0, R Bhatia 2.4-0-15-4, A Mishra 3-0-39-0