Bangalore claimed a valuable three-wicket victory over the Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday in a game they dominated but nearly threw away at the death.
Bangalore’s response got off to the worst possible start, with Tillakaratne Dilshan top edging an attempted pull off his first ball to be caught behind for a duck.
Chris Gayle at the other end and the new man Virat Kohli were not perturbed by the early setback though, tacking to the Delhi attack with great gusto.
The pair put on 82 before Gayle (26) swatted a menacing bouncer from James Hopes down the throat of deep backward square leg.
What followed was a tricky period for the visitors, with AB de Villiers (5) brilliantly run out by David Warner in the next over, with the Australian throwing down the stumps from near on the leg side fence.
Morne Morkel made it three wickets in three overs when he sent the dangerous Kohli (56) packing with a super yorker before Cheteshwar Pujara (7) hauled out in the deep not long after.
Having been cruising at 83 for one, Bangalore were suddenly 107 for five and in a spot of bother.
However, the blistering pace with which Gayle and Kohli had got their runs earlier in the piece meant that Saurabh Tiwary (18) and Daniel Vettori were able to take a moment to compose themselves before hitting a few much-needed boundaries.
The Daredevils were not done just yet though, with Morkel picking up the wickets of Tiwary and Abhimanyu Mithun (0) in his final over to put the pressure right back on the visitors.
In the end though, Vettori (18) and Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad (13) had enough in the tank to get Bangalore home in the final over.
Earlier, the Delhi innings was propelled by an unlikely source, with James Hopes – elevated up the order to number three – doing the majority of the run scoring.
Virender Sehwag (25) began the innings in typically aggressive fashion but saw his opening partner David Warner depart for just seven, with Zaheer Khan beating the left-hander with a delivery that jagged back off the pitch.
Sehwag himself didn’t last too much longer, run out attempting a quick single to short fine leg, and with the two men who have done the lion’s share of the Dardeveils’ scoring back in the hut, matters were looking rather ominous for the home side.
The grit of Hopes came to the fore though, with Australian – typically known for his nudging and nurdling – cracking seven boundaries in his innings of 54. Hopes wasn’t without his luck though, caught off a no ball when on 44, but he deserved the kindness the cricketing Gods showed him.
The all-rounder was supported first by Venugopal Rao (24) and the Naman Ohja (16) as the Daredevils clawed their way to 160 but it was never going to be enough. Cricket365