Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sehwag hands Pollard’s Indians a whipping


RETURNED TO FORM: Delhi Daredevils Virender Sehwag.

Mark Fraser

Kieron Pollardís Mumbai Indians suffered a heavy loss to Delhi Daredevils, while Kings XI Punjab scored another easy victory over Pune Warriors when the Indian Premier League (IPL) continued yesterday.

In the Daredevils/Mumbai Indians game, the Daredevils galloped to a nine-wicket victory with Virender Sehwag striking 95 not out and Mahela Jayawardene supported with 59 as Delhi amassed 165 for one. Daredevils secured their first win in seven attempts this season.

Earlier the Indians reached 161 for 4 with Rohit Sharma (73) and Sachin Tendulkar (54) both hitting half centuries. Pollard was left unbeaten on 19, but his teamís total turned out to be insufficient.

In a day of bad bowling for both sides, Daredevils turned out the lesser of two evils.

To give credit where itís due, Daredevils were ordinary for a much shorter duration. They only let things go after they had reduced Mumbai to 24 in six overs, giving Sharma full toss after full toss to deposit into the stands, and conceding 161 runs.

Mumbaiís Jasprit Bumrah and Munaf Patel, though, were poor from the start, letting the hitherto struggling Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene run away with the chase after which the duo regained their touch.

The match couldnít have started more differently. After Mumbai finally split the faltering box-office opening combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, Daredevilsí left-arm bowlers stifled the top order on a slow pitch. Finally included, Roelof van der Merwe made the biggest difference, with the wicket of Dwayne Smith in the third over.

In between the odd classy shot and heave, Rohit kept getting his loose balls. In all, he was given five full tosses, off which he scored 20 runs and was holed out on the last. These were not yorkers gone wrong, these were knee-high full bungers. Around more ordinary fielding, Mumbai kept prospering, but this was nothing compared to what was to follow.

When Daredevils came out to bat, Bumrah might have been rescued by dodgy umpiring in the previous match he played, but his angle and his gentle pace and length bowling was fodder for the batsmen this time around. His first over finished, Bumrah went to short fine leg to drop Sehwag off Munaf Patel. It shouldnít take away from how poor the delivery was: short, down the leg side, with the fine leg up in the circle.

Munaf didnít stop doing that in his first two-over spell, and was consistently picked away on the leg side past the short fine leg. While Bumrah paid for that wide angle, Munaf was penalised for not bowling to his fields, and their next overs yielded 17 each. At 50 for 0 after five overs, these two had smelled blood, and you donít let Sehwag and Jayawardene smell blood. David Warner may have wondered why he didnít face such bowling when he opened the innings.

What chance did Dwayne Smith stand? In his second over, the tenth of the chase, Smith was carved away for four by Sehwag and paddled away for a six by Jayawardene. And that six, coming as early as it did, brought the asking rate down to a run a ball. No collapse, fashionable as it might be, followed and the remaining 63 were got in just 45 balls.

In the dayís other IPL match, David Miller fired 80 not out while Mandeep Singh posted 77 not out to lead Punjab to a seven wicket triumph over Pune Warriors.

Punjab got to 186 for 3 to beat Pune who got to 185 for 4 based on Aaron Finchís 64.

Luke Wright went from hero to villain in the space of 100 minutes. His cameo of 34 off ten balls helped Pune Warriors post 185, but in the face of an assault from Miller and sensible support from Mandeep Singh, Wright blinked and failed to defend 15 in the last over. Miller finished it off with two lethal sixes, but donít forget how Mandeep kept running back to the danger end to keep Miller on strike.

Mandeepís was the first fifty for any Kings XI Punjab batsman this IPL.