It was a low-scoring affair at Feroz Shah Kotla between Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday (April 12) night and with both sides faltering with the bat, the packed crowd was in for a nail-biting contest. In the end, despite a commendable effort with the ball by Delhi, Hyderabad pulled off a three-wicket win, the result helping them join Royal Challengers Bangalore at the top of the points' table.
Virender Sehwag finally made his much-awaited entry into the Delhi team in the 2013 edition of the Pepsi Indian Premier League, but that did little to lift the team's batting. (Related read: Sanga, Mahela credit bowlers in low-scoring game)
Indeed, not much went right for Delhi against, arguably, the most balanced bowling attack of the nine teams in the fray. Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Thisara Perera, Amit Mishra and Anand Rajan kept things simple - restrictive line, smart length and occasional changes of pace. The rest was achieved by the Hyderabad fielding and the ineptitude of the Delhi batsmen who, despite names like Sehwag, David Warner and Mahela Jayawardene in the mix, floundered. (Also see: Match stats)
Till Steyn sent Shahbaz Nadeem's off stump for a walk for Delhi's eighth and last wicket, all the batsmen fell to catches and, bar Steyn catching Jayawardene off Ishant, none of them were to mistimed strokes. One of them was super - Cameron White's diving one-handed effort at gully off Sehwag, while the rest showed a fielding unit at the top of its game. In fact, the only major piece of misfielding took place on the last ball of the Delhi innings, when Mishra missed a tame flick from Umesh Yadav at short fine-leg and saw the ball roll past the boundary rope.
In the event, not one of the Delhi top five put up a score of note and when the fifth wicket - Manprit Juneja - fell, the scoreboard read 65 for 5 in 13.3 overs. (Photo gallery: How the match unfolded)
At that rate, reaching even 100 would have been a big ask, but with Irfan Pathan and Kedar Jadhav showing more sense than their more illustrious mates, the last few overs were more productive for Delhi. Pathan, who spent the best part of his 30-ball stay consolidating, scored 23, while Jadhav, batting at No. 7, hit two sixes and a four in his enterprising unbeaten 30 in 20 balls, taking Delhi to 114 for 8.
The fact that sensible batting was the order of the day was evident when Hyderabad came out to bat. The 115-run target was going to be challenging only if the bowlers did their job and the Delhi bowlers, largely, played it right and Jayawardene showed good captaincy skills in setting attacking fields.
The pitch was never going to get easier to bat on as the game went on, and that's something Jayawardene had predicted at the toss. Maybe that's why he saved enough overs from Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan for the latter part of the Hyderabad innings because the run chase, smooth enough while Parthiv Patel and Kumar Sangakkara were putting together their 44-run second-wicket stand, went off the rails in between.
Suddenly, Hyderabad were 89 for 6 and, when Perera fell, 100 for 7, with 15 runs to get from 14 balls. It could have gone either way at that stage but Mishra played a cameo worth its weight in gold, and in collaboration with Steyn, did what the top-order batsmen should have done. Steyn, in the end, facing the last over with six to get, hit two and four off the first two balls of Pathan to take Hyderabad past the finishing line.