IPL 2012: Mahela guides Delhi into playoffs

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May 16, 2012

Scorecard: Delhi Daredevils 140 for 5 (Jayawardene 56*, Awana 3-22) beat Kings XI Punjab 136 for 8 (Hussey 40*, Yadav 3-21, Aaron 2-19) by five wickets

Mahela Jayawardene controlled Delhi Daredevils' chase with an unbeaten half-century

May 16, 2012

Scorecard: Delhi Daredevils 140 for 5 (Jayawardene 56*, Awana 3-22) beat Kings XI Punjab 136 for 8 (Hussey 40*, Yadav 3-21, Aaron 2-19) by five wickets

Mahela Jayawardene controlled Delhi Daredevils' chase with an unbeaten half-century

A classy fifty from the Daredevils batsman keeps Delhi on top of the points table. Delhi dismiss Punjab, storm into play-offs, Delhi Daredevils became the first team to cement their place in the play-offs as they bested Kings XI Punjab by five wickets on a seamer-friendly wicket at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday night.

Delhi’s tenth win of the season elevated them to 20 points, and was brought about by their young Indian pacemen Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav, who restricted Punjab to 136-8, and Mahela Jayawardene, who finally came good with an unbeaten 49-ball 56 as he guided his team home in the chase with an over to spare.

The realization of victory was not really straightforward. Delhi lost David Warner early, and then Parvinder Awana rocked them with three quick wickets – of Virender Sehwag, Venugopal Rao and Ross Taylor, leaving the home side tottering on 37-4 in the sixth over.

Jayawardene steadied the ship with Naman Ojha (34) and then collaborated with Irfan Pathan to make certain that no last-gasp vagaries were allowed to creep in. Delhi needed 26 in 18 balls when Awana returned for his last over and what a turnaround in fortunes he experienced. Pathan brutalised the medium pacer for three boundaries, reducing the requirement drastically. And then Jayawardene ended the game in style, by cracking three successive fours in Azhar Mahmood’s penultimate over of the chase.

Kings XI, on the other hand, needed victory tonight and in their remaining two games to be assured of a playoff spot. They cannot afford another defeat and will have to depend on net run-rate and on a permutation of results in other matches to qualify. Kings XI had persevered to make a below-par total competitive in their first clash against Daredevils – this season's 64th game – but did not have enough runs in the end.

Daredevils unleashed their quick bowlers, supported by a crack fielding unit, and a steady fall of wickets ensued after Kings XI chose to bat. They had made a brisk start but Aaron ended that with his first ball: Shaun Marsh caught glancing down the leg side. In his second over, Aaron had the free-swinging Mandeep Singh pulling to midwicket, where Virender Sehwag dived forward to take a low catch.

Kings XI were progressing well, though, and reached 50 for 2 in 6.2 overs. Yadav was the fifth bowler introduced, in the eighth over, and struck with his second ball. Nitin Saini drove loosely at a fast outswinger and Sehwag was stooping at first slip to catch the edge. After David Miller was run out by a direct hit from Pawan Negi at mid-on, Azhar Mahmood, the last of Kings XI's proper batsmen, was in as early as the 10th over. He stayed only until the 12th, when he hoisted Yadav towards long-off, where Irfan Pathan back-pedalled and caught the ball over his right shoulder on the edge of the boundary.

Kings XI were eventually in danger of being dismissed and David Hussey, who had been crying out for a reliable partner in vain, had to play within himself. He even turned down singles in the final two overs and dragged his team 136 for 8.