De Villiers goes on the rampage

Published : May 02, 2009 00:00 IST

In a contest of micron-thin margin, Delhi Daredevils emerged winner. And the man who set up the Delhi outfit’s victory was A. B. de Villiers, who scored the first century of IPL 2009.

Spurred by a 51-ball hundred from A. B. de Villiers — the first of IPL 2009 — Delhi Daredevils prevailed over Chennai Super Kings by nine runs in a contest of micron-thin margin in Durban. This was Delhi’s second win in two matches, and Chennai’s second loss in three.

Two overs from the start of play, Super Kings was firmly in control with both Delhi Daredevils openers dismissed and just eight runs on the board. It was here that de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan came together. De Villiers began sedately, leaving it to Dilshan to provide Daredevils its initial impetus. The Sri Lankan carved Lakshmipathy Balaji through point, slapped Albie Morkel for three successive fours and whipped Andrew Flintoff over square leg for six in scoring 50 off just 27 balls in a third wicket stand of 68.

Balaji, who had dismissed Gautam Gambhir off the first ball of the Delhi innings, came back in the 14th over to send back Dinesh Karthik for 18, and leave Delhi at 114 for four. It would have been 125 for five in the next over if Morkel hadn’t dropped de Villiers off Manpreet Gony, a sitter at long-on. De Villiers had reached his 50 the previous ball, his 35th.

His next 50 took just 16 balls. Short or full, the South African cleared his front leg and swung merrily, middling everything. Flintoff bore the brunt of his assault, conceding 22 in his fourth over, the 19th of the innings, including a sequence that read 6, 4, 4, 6 as de Villiers raced from 79 to 99. He clipped the last ball of Flintoff’s spell for a single to bring up his century, and an ignominious 50 for the normally parsimonious Englishman. Such was de Villiers’s dominance that when Balaji dismissed Manoj Tiwary in Daredevils’ final over, the Bengal batsman had contributed just nine to the fifth-wicket stand of 76.

Matthew Hayden began Super Kings’ pursuit of 190 in his usual manner, ambling down the pitch and muscling the seamers sardonically. The score climbed to 85 for one at the end of the seventh over, with Hayden tonking two sixes and a lap-swept boundary off Avishkar Salvi. The Queenslander fell in the next over for 57, holing out to long-on off Pradeep Sangwan. Three overs later, skipper M. S. Dhoni top-edged a slash off Daniel Vettori to ’keeper Dinesh Karthik.

But the chase was still on, with Suresh Raina finding the boundary exactly once every over from the 10th to the 14th, the pick being a cover drive at full stretch off Daniel Vettori. When the southpaw slogged Sangwan straight to long-on, he left the remaining Super Kings batsmen the task of scoring 51 off 35 balls — anyone’s game at 8.74 an over.

It seemed that two good overs either way could tilt the balance, and Salvi and Ashish Nehra did it for Daredevils, conceding just five each in the 17th and 18th overs to lift Super Kings’ asking rate to two every ball. This proved too much in the end as the innings fizzled out in a bizarre succession of run-outs.

The Scores

Delhi Daredevils 189 for five in 20 overs (A. B. de Villiers 105 n.o., T. M. Dilshan 50, L. Balaji three for 19) bt Chennai Super Kings 180 for nine in 20 overs (M. L. Hayden 57, S. K. Raina 41, P. Sangwan three for 28, D. L. Vettori two for 29).

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