Last ball thriller

The rival captains, Sehwag and Dhoni. The latter was named the Man of the Match.-RAJEEV BHATT

Virender Sehwag and Shoaib Malik were slammed for 58 runs in four overs and that proved the deciding factor in Chennai winning the contest, writes Vijay Lokapally.

The fifth bowler cost Delhi dear. The silence at the Ferozeshah Kotla when Manpreet Singh Gony swung Shoaib Malik high and long over mid-wicket was indeed deafening. Virender Sehwag had tossed the ball to Malik for the last over with the Chennai Super Kings needing 15 runs for victory. Gony was fresh at the crease. So was S. Badrinath. But Malik lost his composure, conceded a six off the first ball and a single off the last to end up a forlorn figure on the field. Delhi Da redevils had lost a home match from a winning position. Sehwag and Malik were slammed for 58 runs between them in four overs and that proved the deciding factor in Chennai winning the contest. A thrilling charge by Albie Morkel saw Sehwag giving away 23 runs in an over.

“I always knew the fifth bowler would be a problem for us. We miss a specialist there. I thought we would go for 40 runs, no more. I consulted my team mates and they suggested I or Malik should bowl the last over. I thought he would do a better job than me,” said Sehwag, terming it a collective decision. “Such things happen in Twenty20. Any bowler can be blasted.”

The failure was collective too after Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan had laid the foundation for a fight. “187 is not a small score. Gambhir and Dhawan batted superbly and then Yomahesh and Sangwan did their job while bowling. In the end the last over cost us the game,” conceded Sehwag. The team clearly missed left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who has joined the New Zealand team in England.

Gambhir (80 off 49 balls, 11x4, 1x6) was delightful. Dhawan (59 off 46 balls, 6x4, 2x6) was effective. But their efforts came to nothing against an inspired opposition where S. Vidyut and Stephen Fleming (44 off 28 balls, 7x4) gave the team a rousing start. Vidyut was outstanding with some sensational shots in his 23-ball 40 (6x4, 1x6).

Vidyut loves to hit the ball hard and Fleming believes in placing it. Their partnership gave early indications of Chennai’s determination and gradually Delhi gave in. At one stage, the home team seemed to have wrapped it up, but Morkel changed the course with a brutal 30 off 15 balls with three sixes and two fours. This was the innings that really frustrated Delhi, but shockingly Morkel was not found fit for the ‘Man of the Match’ honours. It should have been Morkel as he had also taken two crucial wickets. But inexplicably M. S. Dhoni was adjudged the Man of the Match for an unimpressive 33.

Delhi may rue squandering the opportunity, but Chennai was the better and the more motivated side that night.

THE SCORES

Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils, Ferozeshah Kotla, May 8, 2008.

Result: Chennai Super Kings won by four wickets.

Delhi Daredevils 187 for five in 20 overs (G. Gambhir 80, S. Dhawan 59) lost to Chennai Super Kings 188 for six in 20 overs (S. Fleming 44, S. Vidyut 40, M. S. Dhoni 33, A. Morkel 30).