Gautam Gambhir led from the front with a cracking half-century and Dirk Nannes shone with the ball to help Delhi Daredevils beat Kings XI Punjab by five wickets in the third match of the Indian Premier League in Mohali, on Saturday.
Captain Gambhir held the innings together with a brisk knock of 72 from 54 balls, while Dirk Nannes claimed two for 12 in four overs that saw Delhi start off their campaign in IPL 3 with a victory.
Mithun Manhas finished the innings with a boundary to remain unbeaten on a quick 31 from 24 deliveries as Delhi reached 146 for five to win with just one delivery to spare.
S Sreesanth, who took two wickets in his first over, finished with impressive figures of two for 24 in four overs to help Punjab stretch their opponents till the final over.
Sreesanth got Virender Sehwag caught behind for eight and a few deliveries later had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught at short midwicket for a duck in the second over of the innings.
Earlier, Ravi Bopara top scored with a brisk 56 from 48 balls to help Kings XI Punjab reach 142 for nine in their 20 overs.
Nannes registered splendid figures of two for 12 in four overs, while Farveez Maharoof claimed two for 37 in four overs after Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir had elected to bowl.Kings XI Punjab:
Dirk Nannes started off well by giving away just one run in the opening over of the match. In the next over, Delhi made the first breakthrough when Manvinder Bisla (2) was run out after Mithun Manhas scored a direct hit from the covers in the second over.
Nannes came up with another good over as he registered figures of just three runs from two overs as Punjab were finding it difficult to get going at the start.
Ravi Bopara broke the shackles by pulling Maharoof for a huge six over square leg and Sangakkara hit one straight down the ground for another maximum as Punjab reached 33 for one after four overs.
However, Maharoof had his revenge when he claimed the vital wicket of Sangakkara for 17, when he tried to flick a full delivery but was brilliantly caught at short fine leg by Pradeep Sangwan. In the same over, Yuvraj Singh also departed for four as he lobbed a high catch to Gautam Gambhir at mid-on attempting a big shot down the ground.
After being smashed for 18 runs in his second over, Maharoof had stormed back in some style, claiming two big wickets in a single over to cripple Punjab.
Things got even worse for the hosts when Mahela Jayawardene was caught behind for a first ball duck off Pradeep Sangwan as Punjab were reduced to 49 for four after seven overs.
Punjab's hopes now rested on Ravi Bopara and the English batsmen ensured things went at a good pace. He hit a boundary each for four overs in a row, while Irfan Pathan slammed Amit Mishra over midwicket as Punjab reached 76 for four after ten overs.
Bopara completed his half-century from 41 deliveries, having hit seven boundaries and a six, with a single on the leg side in the 13th over.
Just when Punjab were threatening to lift the tempo, Tillakaratne Dilshan chipped in with a wicket. Irfan Pathan, who made 21 from 16 deliveries, was stumped by wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik as charged down the wicket in the 14th over.
New recruit Mohammad Kaif was dismissed in the same fashion as he missed a flighted delivery from Mishra and was stumped for six. In the next over, Bopara hit a full toss from Yo Mahesh straight to Mithun Manhas at square leg after a wonderful innings of 56 from 48 balls, laced with seven boundaries and a six.
The Kings XI Punjab were left reeling at 113 for seven after 16 overs with all their top batsmen back in the hut.
Ramesh Powar charged down the wicket to Dirk Nannes but was beaten all ends up and was bowled for 3. The left-armer got his second wicket when Maharoof came up with a brilliant catch after Piyush Chawla (5) edged one to the third man region.
S Sreesanth hit a few useful boundaries in the final overs to hit 15 from 14 balls as Kings XI Punjab finished on 142 for nine in their 20 overs.
It turned out to be a disappointing performance by the Punjab batsmen and there were no partnerships throughout. If not for Bopara, they could have well finished around the 100-run mark.
Virender Sehwag started off in his trademark fashion when he carted Irfan Pathan for two boundaries in the first over of the innings.
From the other end, S Sreesanth came up with a dream over as he claimed the wickets of the dangerous Sehwag followed by another dangerman in Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Sehwag (8) was beaten by the outswinger from Sreesanth which he edged to Mahela Jayawardene as he attempted to drive through the off-side. Dilshan fell for a three-ball duck when he flicked a full delivery straight to Bisla at short midwicket as Delhi were reduced to 10 for two after two overs.
Captain Gambhir hit boundaries in successive overs to take the total to 27 for two after four overs.
Punjab bowlers managed to keep things in check as just a single boundary came from the next three overs. The pressure paid off as AB de Villiers was run out for 7 after he was sent back by Gambhir trying for a quick single as Delhi were reduced to 45 for four in the eighth over.
Gambhir survived a close run out attempt by Bopara as Delhi reached 61 for three at the halfway stage, needing 82 from the last ten overs.
The innings finally got some push when three boundaries came off Piyush Chawla, in the 12th over, with Dinesh Karthik slamming two of them.
But Karthik aggressive tactics didn't last much long as he fell in the next over caught by Pathan off Yusuf Abdulla for 20.
Gambhir, though, had no problems in getting the runs coming at a good pace. Ramesh Powar suffered in his first over when the Delhi captain hit him for a couple of boundaries that also brought up his half-century from 40 deliveries.
Delhi got 16 runs from Powar's first over as the score reached 101 for four after 14 overs, with another 42 needed from the last six overs.
Yuvraj Singh though was making life difficult for the Delhi batsmen as he gave away just 11 runs in three overs with his slow left-arm spinners. The match was heading for a thrilling finish as Delhi needed to score 26 from the last three overs but with Gautam looking in control the visitors were still the favourites.
Irfan Pathan grassed a simple catch at long-off to give Manhas (18) a vital lifeline. The Delhi batsman then rubbed salts on bowler Abdulla's wounds by lofting the next ball over covers for a boundary to take his team closer.
Gambhir then despatched Abdulla high into the stands over long-off for a huge six to make it four needed from the last over.
Irfan gave his team some hope when he took the wicket of Gambhir, caught at mid-off, trying to hit a full toss on the leg side. Gambhir played a fine innings of 72 from 54 deliveries, hitting nine boundaries and a six, before he departed with his team on the verge of a victory.
Manhas ended it in style when he slammed a short delivery from Irfan for a boundary through point. The Delhi batsman finished unbeaten on 31 from 24 balls as Delhi reached 146 for five in 19.5 overs to win by five wickets with just one delivery to spare.
Punjab made a valiant effort with the ball, led by Sreesanth's two for 24 in four overs, while the other bowlers came in with good efforts despite their team defending a low total.