Sunday, April 18, 2010

Delhi Dare devils need 146 to make semis

Only Andrew Symonds offered resistance for Deccan Chargers in the virtual quarter-final against Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Deccan wobbled at the start before the Symonds show and slowed to a crawl post his fall to reach 145 for 7. It was an inspiring performance from Delhi but Symonds' sparkling knock had given Deccan something to defend. It was a slightly slow pitch, better than the previous tracks in Feroz Shah Kotla though, and the chase is unlikely to be a stroll for Delhi.

Deccan solely depended on Symonds. The story of their innings was summarised after the first time-out in the tenth over. Amit Mishra bowled with a slip and a silly point to the new batsman Mitchell Marsh, but when Symonds came on strike most fielders were back patrolling the boundary. Delhi were on the attack and knew only one man posed a threat. Marshall preserved his wicket and allowed Symonds to play a superbly crafted aggressive knock.

Initially, Symonds reserved all his aggression for Amit Mishra: It was a fine battle because Mishra troubled him with his googlies, which Symonds picked off the pitch, but he would time and again counterattack with a muscled hit. He moved down the track to lift a leg break over long-off, followed it by biffing a googly into the same stand and slugged a flighted delivery from outside off over long-on. In between, he edged a legbreak between the keeper and first slip and just when Mishra was on the ascent, Symonds would break free.

He crashed Tillakaratne Dilshan's offbreaks for two sixes and even played a delicate late cut to collect a boundary. Deccan had reached 116 for 4 in the 15th over and things were set for a final assault when Symonds fell. Mishra had just switched to bowling from round the stumps to Symonds and had his man chipping straight to long off. Things went downhill for Deccan from there as Delhi applied the squeeze, just as they had done in the first half of the game.

The seamers Umesh Yadav, Dirk Nannes and Ashish Nehra had bowled fine spells to pick quick wickets at the top. Yadav knocked out the two men in form - T Suman and Rohit Sharma. He cut one sharply back from outside off to breach the defences of Suman and removed Rohit with a slower one. He was just hit for two consecutive boundaries by Rohit when he got a legcutter to bounce at Rohit, who stabbed it to the keeper. Just before Umesh's double-strike, Nehra had lured Adam Gilchrist into top-edging his pull to covers. The top order was dismantled before Symonds played the lone hand. Once he fell, Delhi swooped in for the kill to restrict Deccan to 145.