Mutual admiration has great advantages in sport. In soccer, that could mean a fellow striker relaying the ball to his partner, instead of finishing it himself. In cricket, that means the man rated among the most destructive batsmen savours his partner's game before launching into the bowling himself.
The Delhi Daredevils once again rode high on their enviable top-order batting, as they virtually played the Mumbai Indians out of the park after notching up the second-highest total in IPL-V. That ensured there would be no avenging the defeat suffered at the Wankhede Stadium.
In the end, the Daredevils swept to a 37-run victory, despite Ambati Rayudu's heroics for the second game in a row.
The home team management insists that more than sheer talent, the experience and calm heads of their batsmen is what's making the difference. And that was proved once again. Sehwag became only the third batsman to score three half-centuries in a row in the tournament, lashing eight fours and four sixes in his 39-ball blitz.
Mahela Jayawardene, good with those big hits as well as in dismantling the bowling with placements, played an almost equal hand in the 135-run opening partnership, the second highest of the season. Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik missed Sehwag's stumping on 40 off left-arm spinner Robin Peterson, but the home captain would still rue not getting that century that was there for the taking.
MI, still looking for momentum at the halfway mark in the tournament, brought back Lasith Malinga after he recovered from the back problem. The slinger gave away only one run in his first over but was too erratic after that. The magical yorkers were simply absent.
The Daredevils showed in three overs why their batting can take them all the way. Sehwag dismissed Kieron Pollard's lone seven-ball 11th over with two sixes and two fours. It went for 23 runs. After Jayawardene reverse-hit Peterson's left-arm spin to be caught at point and Sehwag failed to get enough power trying to hoist the South African over deep cover, the innings threatened to lose momentum.
That after Pollard failed with two leaping attempts at point, off Malinga, to catch the batsmen. He badly hurt his right shoulder after landing heavily — the second time to be forced off the field.
Kevin Pietersen, taking guard on a strip on which he slammed a century against the Chargers, took 18 runs off the 17th over by Harbhajan and then took 20 off Peterson’s next over, including a high-on-entertainment switch-hit over cover for six. He signed off with a 26-ball unbeaten 50, with six 4s and three sixes.
Tendulkar brought the crowd to its feet with a stunning inside-out six, but didn’t pack enough punch trying to hoist Morne Morkel to be caught at mid-off.