By BV Swagath
Delhi Daredevils are the first team of IPL 5 to qualify for the play offs. They did so by beating Kings XI Punjab comfortably by an over to spare and with five wickets in hand at the Feroz Shah Kotla. This is now the 10th win for the Daredevils in 14 matches and their points have gone up to 20.
Needing a modest 137 to win, Delhi Daredevils were in deep trouble at 37 for 4 in 5.4 overs. Parvinder Awana bowled superbly getting the ball to move off the seam. Awana accounted for the wickets of Sehwag, Venugopal Rao and Ross Taylor.
Despite having Delhi in a soup, Kings XI Punjab struggle to sustain the pressure as there were no real back up to the seam bowlers. Harmeet Singh and Piyush Chawla couldn’t create the impression that was required on the batsmen. Mahela Jayawardene who was there along with Naman Ojha for the Daredevils got the much needed partnership to set things right.
Naman Ojha played a crucial hand by lofting Piyush Chawla for a couple of sixes and then striking a boundary off Harmeet Singh to put Delhi back on track to chase the target. In the 14th over though, just to make the match interesting, Naman Ojha (34 from 29 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes) got out pulling a long hop from Piyush Chawla into the hands of deep mid wicket to leave DD at 95 for 5.
Piyush Chawla who gave the breakthrough for Kings XI went onto bowl a maiden in the 16th over leaving Daredevils 34 to win from 24 balls. However with the experienced duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Irfan Pathan at the crease, it was a difficult task for Kings XI from stopping them in carrying the Daredevils to a comfortable victory with an over to spare.
Irfan Pathan made the victory easy by taking Parvinder Awana for three boundaries in the 18th over. Awana till then had outstanding figures of 3-0-7-3 until that disastrous over bowled to Pathan! Mahela Jayawardene finished the match with an unbeaten 56 from 49 balls with 8 fours while Irfan Pathan delivered a match-winning cameo of 19* from 10 balls with 3 fours.
Umesh Yadav got the Man of the Match award for his 3 for 21 during the Kings XI Punjab innings early on.