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Dilshan takes Delhi past Bangalore

By Rediff cricket
Last updated on: April 26, 2009 19:41 IST
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A superlative unbeaten 67 (47 balls, 5x4, 2x6) by Tillekeratne Dilshan helped Delhi Daredevils beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in the Indian Premier League match in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

The victory, their third in succession, helped Delhi move to the top of the table, a position they now share with Deccan Chargers.

The Bangalore side was consigned to their fourth straight defeat; with just one win in five matches they are in danger of finishing worse than they did in the inaugural season.

Bangalore innings:

Bangalore were put on the back foot at the outset itself as Delhi struck with the first ball. Dirk Nannes's delivery swung late and rattled Jacques Kallis's off-stump. The South African, one of the key performers for Bangalore in this edition, paid the price for not playing a shot.

The second over saw them suffer another setback. Robin Uthappa (3 off 8 balls), playing as specialist batsman, with Mark Boucher returning to take wicket-keeping responsibilities, failed to perform his role to perfection. He mistimed a pull of Ashish Nehra and top-edged to Pradeep Sangwan at mid-on.

Bangalore 10 for two after two overs.

Kevin Pietersen, by winning the toss, had won the war but lost the battle --  a stark reflection of his team's fortunes, and perhaps his own.

Bangalore, one of the expensive flops in the inaugural edition, started the second season on a positive note, with a 75-run thrashing of holders Rajasthan Royals, only to suffer three straight defeats thereafter.

And Pietersen's own form was a replica of his team. The former England captain, the biggest buy in the IPL @ $ 1.3 million, had thus far failed to justify his worth. On two of his four innings he failed to open his account, and the lone time he had made a decent contribution (32) with the bat was during his team's only victory.

So a performance from his blade was long overdue. And he rose to the occasion, cutting lose early by smashing Nehra over the long-on fence for the maximum. He found a reliable ally in Ross Taylor, and two started the process of rebuilding for Bangalore.

Daniel Vettori's first over went for 13, his countryman Taylor slicing him wide of gully to the boundary, and Pietersen coming down the track and smashing him over the deep midwicket fence for the maximum.

The latter shot brought about the 50-run partnership for the third wicket, certainly a vital stand in the context of the game.

But Vettori, arguably the best bowler in this format, had the last word. The switch hit, a shot which has on many occasions worked wonders for Pietersen, proved to be his detriment on Sunday. Vettori outsmarted him, directed the ball towards the leg stump and cleaned them up.

The Bangalore captain made 37 of 25 balls (2x4, 2x6) but frittered away a good start, an opportunity to prove his worth.

Pietersen's dismissal in the last over before the 'strategic time out' meant the advantage was back with Delhi.

Bangalore went into the breather at 74 for three.

The first over after the break witnessed the departure of Taylor, foxed by an Amit Mishra googly. The New Zealander made 31 of 34 balls (3x4) and his dismissal left Bangalore at 78 for four.

Virat Kohli, 22 of 24 (1x4), and Boucher, 36 of 28 (2x4, 2x6) forged a 61-run partnership for the fifth wicket to take Bangalore to their eventual total.

Boucher tried to break free, hitting two sixes off Sangwan in the penultimate over, one over square leg and the second over deep midwicket, but in his attempt to accelerate holed out to Mishra at long-on.

Kohli fell next ball (to Nehra), caught by Dilshan at long-on, and R Vinay Kumar (0) was run-out by a De Villiers direct hit two balls later.

The only significant shot by the Bangalore team in the final over, which yielded just 10, was a six over deep midwicket by B Akhil.

But, overall, Bangalore's batting, after Pietersen's dismissal, was more of patchwork, a repair job rather than an aggressive effort to take the game away from Delhi.

Delhi innings:

Delhi's chase began with captain Virender Sehwag smashing the fifth ball of the innings (from R Vinay Kumar) over deep midwicket fence for the maximum. But if fans expected more fireworks from the dashing opener, they were in for disappointment. For, in the next over from Pankaj Singh, he holed out to Pietersen at mid-on.

It was the second successive failure for Sehwag -- he scored only six against Chennai -- and it had more to do with shot selection than excellent bowling.

The young Pankaj had tasted blood, and though Dilshan hit him for the maximum in his second over, he kept trying.

His third over was quite dramatic. Off the third ball, he was himself guilty of dropping Dilshan, but the Rajasthan bowler atoned in the next ball, getting an edge of Gautam Gambhir's blade and Boucher making no mistake.

Gambhir scored just 16 off 19 balls (1x4) and it was his second straight failure, having failed to open his account against Chennai.

Delhi were reduced to 43 for two after six overs, their famed opening combine having flattered to deceive.

Abraham de Villiers, the lone centurion in the second edition thus far -- after his unbeaten 105 against Chennai, joined Dilshan and the duo ensured Delhi went into the strategic time out without any further loss.

Their total of 64 for two was, however, considerably less than Bangalore's 74 for three.

There was drama in store soon after resumption.

Taylor's throw from short third man caught Dilshan well short of his ground. But the third umpire, Billy Doctrove, after an endless wait, ruled in favour of the batsman. The Sri Lankan, on 34 then, was fortunate without doubt.

But Bangalore's bad fortune didn't last long either. Left arm spinner KP Appanna, bowling the first ball of his final over, turned one superbly from outside leg and the ball clipped De Villiers's leg stump.

The South African made 21 of 23 balls, but, more importantly, failed to reach the boundary even once.

Bangalore got the breakthrough they needed and with Delhi delicately poised at 84 for three, needing 66 of 41 balls, they sensed their chance.

Dinesh Karthik (12/9) made a quick start, sweeping Appanna to the fence and then smashing Kallis over the deep midwicket fence. But his departure was even quicker, B Akhil making him hit one straight to Kallis at deep cover.

However, to Delhi's delight, Dilshan was hanging on, riding on his luck.

A six at wide long-on off Kallis helped him complete his second straight half century -- he scored 50 against Chennai -- and Mithun Manhas's (23/13) two successive boundaries, the first a catch misjudged by Uthappa at long off and the second a mis-field, ensured that over was the most productive one of the Delhi innings -- 19 runs coming off it. 

Delhi had taken a ball more than 15 overs to reach 100 but at the end of 18, were sitting pretty at 135 for four.

Kallis, who while batting lost his wicket off the first ball, gave the match another twist with the ball. Alas, on both occasions the rival team benefited.

The penultimate over from Pankaj Singh cost 12 and with Delhi needing just three of the final over, the result was a mere formality.

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