Virender Sehwag returned home to a decent enough welcome. Delhi, used to cheering Viru, Viru, finally got a reason to exercise their lungs. It didn’t matter that the explosive batsman had been cut out by Delhi Daredevils and his consistency at the top has helped Kings Xi Punjab climb to the top of the points table.
Their pathetic home team has failed to give the Kotla fans any reason to cheer this season. The regular Viru chants were followed by ‘maaro, maaro’ (hit it, hit it) and in the face of the 165-run target set by the Delhi Daredevils, Sehwag acknowledged the demand by hammering a boundary off Mohammad Shami over covers. That was followed by one straight over the bowler’s head and the bespectacled Sehwag was away at his home ground.
But then failing to capitalise on good starts has been his story this year. Still, Sehwag provided the start and built a partnership with Manan Vohra.
Vohra went ballistic, hitting two amazing sixes. Sehwag is on the last bend of his career but he still offers something. And it is that arm around the young like Vohra that make them go on fearlessly.
For a change in the Kings XI camp, the good start was followed by a collapse that saw big guns Glenn Maxwell and David Miller gone in quick succession. A few more runs and the Daredevils would have certainly tasted their first win after a long, long time. But it wasn’t to be. Their bowling couldn’t keep making dents after their batsmen made a hash of what could have been a total close to 200.
It is difficult to believe Kevin Pietersen was the architect of England’s Test series win in 2012 on turning tracks. He’s been dismissed by little-known tweakers Pravin Tambe and Yuzhvendra Chahal and then by Amit Mishra over the last three weeks. On Monday, he missed the line against left-arm spinner Akshar Patel for 49.
Delhi Daredevils: Kevin Pietersen (captain), Murali Vijay, Mayank Agarwal, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), JP Duminy, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat.
Kings XI Punjab: Virender Sehwag, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, George Bailey (captain), Rishi Dhawan, Akshar Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Shivam Sharma, Beuran Hendricks.