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Captain Gautam leads from the front

Last updated on: March 14, 2010 08:41 IST

Gautam GambhirIt seems captaincy has added another facet to Delhi Daredevils opener Gautam Gambhir.

In his first game as the skipper, the left-hander held the innings together with a brisk knock of 72 from 54 balls, while Dirk Nannes claimed two for 12 in four overs to help Delhi start off their campaign in the third season of the Indian Premier League with a victory.

Chasing 143 for victory, Delhi were made to toil by Kings XI Punjab as wickets fell at regular intervals but Gambhir proved to be the big difference.

With S Sreesanth snapping the dangerous Virender sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan in his first over, Delhi were on the backfoot right from the start despite chasing a low total.

Gambhir also had his share of luck, when he was almost run out by Ravi Bopara, with Delhi having three of their batsman back in the hut for just 61.

The left-hander was particularly severe on off-spinner Ramesh Powar, who was hit for a couple of boundaries that also brought up his half-century from 40 deliveries.

Gambhir paced his innings to perfection and cut loose towards the closing stages. He despatched pacer Yusuf Abdulla high into the stands over long-off for a huge six to make it four needed from the last over.

Irfan Pathan gave Punjab some hope when he took the wicket of Gambhir, caught at mid-off, trying to hit a full toss on the leg side. But, by then, the left-hander had ensured that this team would start off their tournament with a morale-boosting victory against their north Indian rivals.