Sehwag, gambhir ground Chennai

Gambhir and Sehwag take a break during their 115-run stand.-PTI

In the absence of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Jacob Oram, Chennai Super Kings betrayed a certain vulnerability, writes Nandita Sridhar.

Virender Sehwag approached an achievable target with particular urgency, helping Delhi Daredevils defeat Chennai Super Kings by eight wickets in the IPL encounter at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium. Chennai’s first defeat in the competition, coming as it did after the departure of match-winners Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Jacob Oram, betrayed a certain vulnerability of the squad.

Replacing those imposing figures meant the likes of Stephen Fleming and Makhaya Ntini needed time to adjust to the manic pace of the IPL. Chennai’s score of 169 never seemed enough when skipper Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir walked in to bat.

Sehwag’s 71 came off 41 balls. His strokes were executed with typical ease. Ntini was punished in the fourth ball of the innings, slashed for six. Manpreet Gony and Joginder Sharma, both having punched above their weights so far, were attacked mercilessly.

Gony watched two of his deliveries in an over soar over the ropes, while Joginder gave away 19 runs in his first over. The near sell-out crowd was stunned by Sehwag’s urgency, a little over a month after witnessing an incredible triple-hundred by the very same batsman.

The absence of Oram was felt in the attack. Gony and Joginder lacked enough experience when faced with the unremitting assault. Sehwag’s sixes over third man and mid-wicket were punctuated with effective shots through covers and square. Muttiah Muralitharan was handled adeptly as well. Bowling reputations matter little when Sehwag gets his eye in. This match was no different. He hit seven fours and four sixes.

Gambhir chose the less hectic, yet effective route. The pulls worked particularly well for the left-hander. His late improvisations were heartening for Delhi. The wickets of the openers came a little too late for Chennai.

The host found it hard without Hayden upfront. Parthiv Patel and Stephen Fleming, up against Glenn McGrath, struggled.

Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan scored a half-century, making up for his streaky shots with better timing thereafter. Despite moments of fortune, credit should go to Vidyut for saving the innings from despair in his debut match. He struck seven fours and a six before being dismissed for 54. M. S. Dhoni scratched around for his 32, which wouldn’t go down as one of his best efforts.

Albie Morkel in the end took Chennai’s score past 150. The Delhi bowling was commendable. McGrath was expectedly frugal, while Mohammad Asif and V. Yomahesh, despite giving away more runs, seemed threatening enough.

The Scores

Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils, M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, May 2, 2008.

Result: Delhi Daredevils won by eight wickets.

Chennai Super Kings 169 for six in 20 overs (P. Patel 21, S. Vidyut 54, M. S. Dhoni 32, A. Morkel 28) lost to Delhi Daredevils 172 for two in 19 overs (G. Gambhir 50, V. Sehwag 71, A.B. de Villiers 26 n.o.)