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1.22K   //    14 Mar 2010, 11:25 IST


KINGS XI PUNJAB: Lead by Kumara Sangakkara the Mohali outfit opted for two genuine spinners for a lively pitch and included Manvinder Bisla of Haryana ahead of his more flamboyant counterpart, Karan Goel. Kings have lead the Daredevils 3 – 1 in head to head encounters in IPL.

DELHI DAREDEVILS: They could be termed as the proverbial chockers of IPL, two semifinals finishes in last two editions, Daredevils lead by new captain Gautam Gambhir would be eyeing to do one step better this season . They opted to bench explosive David Warner for an extra bowler in Farveez Mahroof, alongside speedster Dirk Nannes and young sensation Pradeep Sangwan and YO Mahesh with Amit Mishra being the only spinner.

Delhi won the toss and elected to field first.


Ravi Bopara and Manvinder Bisla walked out to the middle in a hope to give their team a flying start but Dirk Nannes started of as usual with speed, swing and conviction. The first over yielded only a single and a direct hit from Mithun Manhas put Manvinder Bisla back to the hood. The opening bowlers Dirk Nannes and Mahroof extract maximum bounce and swing making batsmen’s life a misery. After a lusty blow straight over the top of bowler Mahroof, Sangakarra departed soon followed by Yuvraj and immediately superseded by Jayawerdene for a golden duck. After 7 overs scorecard reads 49/4 in favour of the Devils. Bopara on the other end played himself in negotiating the good deliveries and pouncing on the loose one with good effect. Irfan Pathan joined Bopara and scored a handy 21 of 15 before being foxed by Dilsan. Good captaincy shown by Gauti to give the ball to Dilsan who has the knack of taking wickets at crucial juncture. When Bopara was holed out in deep square leg of the bowling of Yo Mahesh, all hopes of a late flourish smoked out and in the end Kings managed to put up a decent but below par 142.


When Virender Sehwag is on the crease, Devils look formidable and others mere minions, but when Sehwag departs the roles are reversed and that’s what exactly Southern Sizzler Sreesanth did for Kings XI Punjab. After many months Sree looked sharp for the first time and bowled full to produce sterling out swingers. Sehwag and Dilsan out in the second over itself and Devils where in a spot of bother. Pathan and Sree exploited the new ball, and bowled superbly to put Delhi in the same position as they were while batting. The good work by the opening bowlers was carried on by Yusuf Abdulla and Piyush Chawla as they stuck to the basics giving away nothing building pressure on Gambhir and AB De Villers. The stress showed as AB went for a non existent single eventually getting run out. Dinesh Karthik came in and scratched his way to 18 balls 20 before getting caught at long off. Amidst all this ataxia, Gambhir was determined nudging the ball here and there and producing some exquisite cuts and paddle sweep to keep his team in the hunt. The veteran Mithun Manhas joined Gauti and he played excellently without any urgency rotating the strike and running hard between the wickets. The match looked like to be hanging in a balance, until Sangakarra introduced off spinner Romesh Pawar into the attack in the 14th over as Gambhir launched his assault over the spinner, milking 16 of the over. Mithun and Gauti continued to inch closer to victory without any further fuss. The 19 over saw Pathan drop a sitter of Manhas, and when Manhas crashed one into the fence, Pathan would have thought that he had dropped the match. Gambhir assured a victory hitting the 5th ball of the penultimate over high superbly over long off for a 6.The equation read 4 from 6, though Gauti got out for a valiant 72 of 53 Mithun Manhas and Mahroof ensured a clinical victory for the Devils.

Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir


Captain Gautam Gambhir proved to the deciding factor in the match as he guided his beasts from hell to victory, a real captain’s knock this will definitely boost his morale in the coming matches both as captain and a batsmen.

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