Krishnamachari Shrikanth receives a cheque from BCCI president N Srinivasan during the IPL T20 cricket 2nd Qualifier match between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. PTI/R Senthil Kumar
In most match reports, experts pick out the turning points that swung the tie in the winning team's favour. A fantastic catch, a magical run out, a brute of a delivery or a shot of sheer audacity, these are normally the main points when deciding the game-changing moments. Add shocking team selections to that list.
Dropping the IPL's leading wicket-taker this season, Morne Morkel, and handing an IPL debut to Sunny Gupta in their biggest match of the season came back to haunt the Delhi Daredevils and kept the Chennai Super Kings' three-peat dreams on track as they cruised to an 86-run win.
Murali Vijay came into the match with a very mediocre return of 181 runs in his 12 matches this season, at a disappointing strike-rate of around 100. On Friday, he changed all that with a 113-run blitz off just 58 balls, studded with 14 boundaries and four sixes. An effort that even topped his match-winning 95 off 52 balls in last year's final against RCB at the same venue.
The first ball he faced, delivered by off-spinner Gupta, Vijay danced down the track and hit it over mid-off for a one-bounce four. There was no turning back after that as he regularly employed the aerial route, making the most of the luck that came his way, with many aerial hits falling just wide of diving Daredevils fielders. On the one occasion the ball was gobbled up by a fielder, Ross Taylor, he stepped on the boundary rope and the on-field umpire reversed the decision and signalled the maximum after consulting with the third umpire.
Chennai's start was good, without being particularly great. They were 39/0 after five overs. Sehwag brought on Varun Aaron, who had leaked 48 runs in his four overs against KKR in the first qualifier, and all hell broke loose. Vijay smacked him for three boundaries in his first over and the pacer never recovered and posted disappointing figures of 2/63 off his four overs.
He provided the first breakthrough, getting rid of Mike Hussey, but failed to check the run-rate. With his quicker men letting him down, Sehwag brought himself on. However, that only compounded matters as Vijay hit him for two sixes and two fours.
MS Dhoni then took over from where he left off in Bangalore, hitting the second and third balls he faced for sixes. The second of these was his signature helicopter shot, smashing Gupta with a powerful whip of the wrists.
Chasing an imposing target, Sehwag dropped himself down the order as Jayawardene and Warner opened. However, DD were rocked early when Warner's Australia teammate Ben Hilfenhaus dismissed him for 3. That brought Sehwag to the middle, but he survived only for six balls.