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Delhi boy returns home, nails Devils

Led by Virat Kohli's half-century, Challengers sneak to a pulsating 3-wicket win. It was RCB's third win from 7 games while Delhi have just two wins from 6 outings now. N Ananthnarayanan reports. Scorecard | Local tunes

india Updated: Apr 27, 2011 02:13 IST
N Ananthnarayanan

The pitch was firm and had a fair sprinkling of grass. Still, only one man could have pushed the Royal Challengers Bangalore to bowl first after skipper Daniel Vettori won the toss at the Ferozshah Kotla. The Delhi Daredevils had hammered 231 on the same pitch on Saturday in defeating the Kings XI Punjab. But then that game did not have Zaheer Khan, who again displayed absolute control and guided fellow seamers Sreesanth Aravind and Abhimanyu Mithun.

Zaheer also specialises in bowling to left-handed openers with in-swingers. Skipper Virender Sehwag was dominating the strike while his Aussie partner David Warner looked subdued. Zaheer fed him a full delivery, which was duly spanked past mid-on for four, and then beat him while attempting an ambitious drive.

The pressure told as Sehwag was run out in the seventh over, trying to regain strike as the Royal Challengers backed their purposeful bowling with superb fielding. All-rounder James Hopes top-scored with 54 to help the hosts eventually raise 160, a score Sehwag had suggested would be a par effort.

In the end, Bangalore waxed and waned with their batting, suffering a remarkable middle order slump before skipper Daniel Vettori and the unheralded Syed Mohammad clinched a three-wicket win with three balls to spare. It was RCB's third win from seven games while Delhi have just two wins from six outings now.

The previous game at Kotla saw a total 23 sixes, most of them flying over the shorter boundary on one side. But Vettori's field placements, the tight line of the bowlers and the self-doubt induced among the Daredevils' batsmen meant just 13 fours and five sixes were struck. T Dilshan, whose early departure from the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the subject of much speculation, once again failed. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/27_04_pg17b.jpg

But Virat Kohli cut Dinda for two fours on his home ground and then hit Irfan Pathan for 4-4-0-4-0-4 and out of the attack. Chris Gayle, fresh from his explosive 102 against the KKR, targetted the off-colour Morne Morkel. A four past point and a six over long-on, and one past cover against Dinda threatened an early finish.