Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag reached Johannesburg early from Bloemfontein on Monday. He had taken the one-hour flight while his team-mates took the four-hour bus ride.
Similarly, on Tuesday, Sehwag took the flight from the centre of Wanderers in the first over for a second-ball duck, flicking Praveen Kumar straight to square-leg fielder’s hands. Sehwag has not made a single half-century in eight visits to the crease this IPL.
Just like the slump in form Sehwag is going through, table-toppers Delhi could not get the momentum going against the Royal Challengers. Anil Kumble’s team won by seven wickets to keep their semifinal hopes alive with 14 points in the bag and a game against the Deccan Chargers to go. The Chargers and Kings XI Punjab are also on 14 points, but the Royal Challengers occupy fourth place by virtue of a superior net run rate.
No batsman scored a fifty in Delhi’s total of 134 for 7 and it just wasn’t enough. Two Praveen strikes in the first over pushed the Daredevils onto the back foot. Gautam Gambhir showed glimpses of his best form before falling to a poor shot against Jacques Kallis.
The Daredevils included debutant off-spinner and batsman Yogesh Nagar and his two wickets were the only point of interest in the Bangalore chase. It remains to be seen how officials react to Nagar's action as he was one of 30 bowlers whose action was deemed suspect in the 2008-09 domestic season.
Delhi Daredevils: G Gambhir c Taylor b Kallis 27 (19b, 3x4, 1x6), V Sehwag c Taylor b Kumar 0 (2b), M Manhas c Kallis b Kumar 0 (2b), AB de Villiers b van der Merwe 28 (29b, 3x4), K Karthik c Uthappa b Kumar 31 (29b, 1x4), AB McDonald b Kumble 3 (4b), Y Nagar c Uthappa b Kumble 20 (20b, 1x4), M Maharoof not out 18 (13b), D Vettori not out 4 (2b)
Extras (w 3) 3;
Total (7 wickets) 134 ;
Fall of wkts: 1-1, 2-1, 3-37, 4-65, 5-70, 6-109, 7-114;
Bowling: P Kumar 4-0-30-3, J Kallis 4-0-17-1, B Akhil 2-0-20-0, RE van der Merwe 4-0-31-1, A Kumble 4-0-24-2, V Kohli 2-0-12-0.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: R Uthappa c Karthik b Nehra 1 (5b), J Kallis not out 58 (56b, 2x4, 2x6), R Dravid c & b Nagar 38 (34b, 4x4), R Taylor c Vettori b Nagar 25 (12b, 1x4, 3x6), M Boucher not out 10 (9b, 1x4).
Extras: (lb-1, nb-2) 3.
Total (for 3 wkts in 19 overs) 135.
Fall of wkts: 1-2, 2-72, 3-101. Bowling: A Nehra 4-0-21-1, A Salvi 4-0-30-0, M Maharoof 2-0-9-0, A McDonald 3-0-22-0, D Vettori 4-0-32-0, Y Nagar 2-0-20-2.