Recalled England batsman Kevin Pietersen finally clicked at the Champions League Twenty20 tournament Thursday, but could not prevent Delhi Daredevils making a semi-finals exit.
Pietersen struck 50 runs off 44 balls against the South African Highveld Lions at a cold and windy Kingsmead in
this Indian Ocean port after meagre contributions of 14 and nine in previous innings at the rain-hit event.
Lions made 139-5 after being put in to bat and Delhi responded with 117-9 after a seven-runs-an-over chase fell behind the target after just six overs and never caught up.
While Pietersen remained at the crease there was an increasingly slim hope, and that disappeared after 16.1 overs when he top edged a ball to short fine leg and wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile scampered to take the catch.
Pietersen struck three fours and one six and now turns his attention to a tour of India by England, ending a two-month exile after he criticised his teammates in text messages to South African opponents during a Test series.
"Apologies to all the @DelhiDaredevils fans! We should have done better today! On a more positive note- I'll be in India Sunday.. Can't wait!" tweeted Pietersen after the match.
Delhi sprang a selection surprise by omitting Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene and introducing Australian David Warner, who was the second highest scorer with 21 while South African tail-ender Morne Morkel made 18 not out.
Chris Morris (2-7), Aaron Phangiso (2-18) and Australian Dirk Nannes (2-34) were the pick of the bowlers for the Lions, who will have home ground advantage Sunday in the final against the Sydney Sixers or the Centurion-based Titans.
Opener Gulam Bodi (50), man-of-the-match Neil McKenzie (46 not out) and skipper Alviro Petersen (24) did best among the Lions batsmen while Umesh Yadav (2-20) offered most in the Delhi attack.
Daredevils were the only Indian Premier League franchise to qualify for the semi-finals from the 10-team mini-league phase with defending champions Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders flopping.