The Delhi Daredevils opened their 2011 IPL account with a thrilling three-wicket victory over the Pune Warriors on Sunday.
In what was the second highest successful run-chase in this year’s competition, Delhi claimed the eight runs required from the last over of the game to inflict a first defeat on the Pune Warriors.
Having been put in to bat Pune posted an imposing 187 for five with Jesse Ryder hitting 60 and captain Yuvraj Singh blasting 66, including 24 runs off his bat in the final over of the innings. In response David Warner and Virender Sehwag set the Daredevils off to a positive start before a combined lower-order effort was capped by James Hopes who launched a six and a four to finish off the game at the death.
Earlier in the day Jesse Ryder set the tone for Pune with two sixes from the last two balls of Venugopal Rao’s first over of the day, lifting the off-spinner effortlessly over the long-on fence.
While the Kiwi left-hander was fluent, opening partner Greame Smith (12) continued to battle for form. The South African surviving an edge behind which drew no appeal from the Delhi players but failed to make the most of his good fortune and perished on the pull with a top-edge to third man off Ashok Dinda’s bowling.
Ryder meanwhile, with Mithun Manhas in support with a useful 20 from 18 balls, kept the innings rolling and brought up the second fastest fifty of this year’s tournament – off 24 balls – after having been dropped by Dinda at deep midwicket two balls earlier.
Then – two balls later and in the same eventful over from Shahbaz Nadeem – the New Zealander perished, top-edging a sweep to Aaron Finch at deep square-leg. Ryder’s 60 came from just 27 balls, including five fours and five sixes, with Pune well placed at 98 for three after ten overs.
With the Kiwi blaster departing, Yuvraj Singh took over the reigns for the home side and, despite minimal support from Robin Uthappa (4) and Amit Mishra (7), the Pune skipper smashed a typical half-century to power his side to a formidable 187 for five.
Yuvraj was particularly brutal in the last over of the innings with a four and three sixes off Ashok Dinda to power to fifty in 30 balls. The 20th over cost 26 runs – the last three legal deliveries clubbed for six – with the Indian allrounder finishing on 66 not out from 32 deliveries.
With a disappointing bowling and fielding effort behind them, Delhi needed Warner and Sehwag to come to the party and they delivered in a clean-hitting opening stand worth 75 runs, from just seven overs.
Warner outscored his partner with 46 from 28 balls before he was run out attempting a second to the fence before Sehwag (37 from 23 balls) was out three overs later – bowled by Ryder. After a brief recovery Delhi then wobbled with Irfan Pathan (16) and Naman Ojha (11) falling to consecutive deliveries from Pune skipper Yuvraj.
In his first appearance for Delhi Mathew Wade failed to make an impact, but Venugopal Rao and Aaron Finch kept the Daredevils in with a shout as they combined for 47 runs in the next four overs.
Yuvraj (4 for 29) however was not to be outdone and he returned to the attack in the 19th over to remove both Finch (25 from 12) and Rao (31 from 20), leaving the visitors with eight runs to get from the final six balls. Under pressure James Hopes made it look easy as he launched the first delivery from Ryder down the ground for six before edging passed third man for four to clinch the win for Delhi. Cricket365