It was easy to get carried away watching Chris Gayle's knock of 175 not out in the first match on Tuesday (April 23), but fans who came in to the Feroz Shah Kotla expecting something similar from Virender Sehwag and Delhi Daredevils in the second match, went home disappointed. Kings XI Punjab cruised to a five-wicket win with three overs to spare to give them their fourth win in seven matches in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013.
Darren Lehmann, the Punjab coach, expected more from his foreign players and they delivered at a crucial stage. David Hussey (20) and David Miller (34 not out) put together a vital 40-run stand for the fifth wicket, and in doing so, they didn't only eased a sense of panic that had grown at one stage, but also did well to not expose a jittery lower order that looked light on experience. (Also read: Punjab add to Delhi's woes, stats from the match)
Earlier, Delhi ended up with a modest 120 for 7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat. David Warner, who came in at No. 4, top-scored with a 36-ball 40, while other batsmen fell to a rash of misguided and miscued strokes. Virender Sehwag, coming off a blistering 95 off 57 balls in the previous game, teased the crowd with two fours and a six en route to 23, but the pressure of losing quick wickets upfront consumed him. With the next best score being 14, Delhi never had any sort of momentum. (Watch NDTV analysis: Gavaskar feels Delhi can only be party spoilers now)
The all-round bowling effort by Punjab was led Harmeet Singh, making his first appearance this year. His triple strike, including the prized scalp of Sehwag and the in-form Kedhar Jadhav, broke Delhi's back while Praveen Kumar, who picked up two wickets, started the slide with Mahela Jayawardene's wicket in the first over.
Punjab seemed full of intent right at the outset, the confidence of having chased 186 in their previous match against Pune Warriors India clearly showing. Mandeep Singh (24) and Luke Pomersbach (18) went berserk despite losing Adam Gilchrist in the first over. They knocked off 50 runs in just 4.3 overs before Pomersbach and Mandeep fell off consecutive deliveries to infuse life into the Delhi camp.
Roelof Van der Merwe struck to dismiss Pomersbach, who was bowled trying to give the charge, and then Mandeep was superbly run-out by David Warner who effected a direct hit from square leg. At 50 for three, Delhi had a sniff but that was thwarted by the in-form David Miller, who continued his good run. His 41-ball 80 against Pune was followed by an unbeaten 34 to take the team home. Punjab lost perhaps two wickets too many, but that didn't take away the authority they displayed for most parts of the game.
Despite a poor effort with the bat, Delhi were spirited with the ball. Jayawardene was proactive on the field, but given he had only 121 to defend, he had to attack with his front-line bowlers. But when that move was met with counter-aggression right at the outset, Delhi had to look for alternative options. Van der Merwe and Johan Botha were steady, if not threatening, but one partnership was all it needed to release any sort of pressure. And when Punjab achieved that, victory was a mere formality.