Getting used to the inevitable

Sreevats Goswami, the India Under-19 wicketkeeper making his IPL debut, showed no signs of nerves.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

The match was practically over in the first seven overs of the chase as Delhi Daredevils, going after the home side’s 154, raced to 90 with skipper Virender Sehwag (47) and Gautam Gambhir (39) pounding the fence. K. C. Vijayakumar reports.

“Never mind Dravid, never mind,” chorused a clutch of local fans as the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper left the media conference hall at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium after the customary post match press conference. But deep inside Dravid’s sensitive mind, the ravages of defeat would continue to hurt as his team slumped to its ninth loss in 11 matches, this time to Delhi Daredevils in the DLF Indian Premier League.

The match was practically over in the first seven overs of the chase as Delhi Daredevils, going after the home side’s 154, raced to 90 with skipper Virender Sehwag (47, 19b, 9x4, 1x6) and Gautam Gambhir (39) pounding the fence. While Sehwag indulged in the rapier act, slashing all over the park against an errant trio of Dale Steyn, Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar, Gambhir finessed his boundaries.

Sehwag’s blitz soon ended in Bharath Chipli’s palms as Praveen Kumar had his moment of relief. Gambhir then got run out to gift a slender hope to Dravid’s men. However, the meagre target and the opening partnership’s cushion of 90 runs in seven overs negated the subsequent slump as A. B. de Villiers (21), Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik fell in quick succession, the last two to a charged up Anil Kumble.

Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan and Farveez Maharoof clattered the winning runs with minimum fuss. Dhawan finished it in style, hoisting B. Akhil into the stands. The Daredevils scored 158 for five in 18.2 overs.

Earlier, Sreevats Goswami (52, 42b, 7x4, 1x6) and Misbah-ul-Haq (47 n.o., 25b, 2x4, 4x6) helped the Royal Challengers score 154 for seven in 20 overs. On winning the toss, Sehwag understandably opted to bowl as a brief evening drizzle hinted at the Duckworth-Lewis rain rule coming into effect later in the night. Thankfully, the rain stayed away, but luck continued to elude Dravid’s men.

Jacques Kallis (25) revelled as an opener briefly and carted an errant Pradeep Sangwan, but at the BEML End, Glenn McGrath was all menace and economy as he scalped Chipli. An equally incisive Farveez Maharoof accounted for Kallis and it was left to diminutive southpaw Goswami to allay his IPL debut nerves, while at the same time, anchor and accelerate his side’s innings.

Goswami displayed a calm head and strong hands as he waded into the attack with the exuberance of youth.

The India under-19 wicketkeeper-batsman, slammed Sangwan for 18 in an over and kept his team in the hunt before falling to Maharoof. “He showed promise,” Dravid later remarked about Goswami.

And while the rest floundered, Misbah-ul-Haq found his batting might a bit late as he bludgeoned 24 runs in the final over bowled by Rajat Bhatia. In the end, the 150 plus total proved inadequate against Sehwag’s merry ways.

“It was a flat wicket and I think Gambhir and I batted really well,” Sehwag said before autograph hunters swarmed around him.

The Scores

Royal Challengers, Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, May 19, 2008.

Result: Delhi Daredevils won by five wickets.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 154 for seven in 20 overs (S. Goswami 52, Misbah- ul-Haq 47 n.o., J. Kallis 25, Maharoof 2-13, McGrath 2-15) lost to Delhi Daredevils 158 for five in 18.2 overs (Sehwag 47, G. Gambhir 39, A. Kumble 2-18).