Pathan’s brilliant batting performance earned him the Man of the Match award
South African pace bowler, Morne Morkel, and Indian all-rounder, Irfan Pathan, both had spectacular games, to open the Delhi Daredevil’s 2012 IPL account on a winning note.
Delhi, who had bolstered their team roster in the past few weeks, were looking to make a dominant opening statement, when they faced off against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Daredevil’s Captain, Virender Sehwag, was extremely impressed with the performance of the new talent that Delhi had brought in, and said: “Boys did very well, bowlers bowled brilliantly after we won the toss.”
Sehwag, won the toss, and elected to field first, stating that he felt it would be easier to chase a target.
However, before the match could begin, the rain came down, which frustrated everyone around the ground, and it took a while for the covers to come off, which led to the game being shortened to only twelve overs a side.
The Kolkata crowd were buzzing as openers, Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis finally walked out to the crease, after the rain delay.
However, after scoring 14 quick runs, at an excellent run rate of 8.40, McCullum, was given out lbw without hesitation, after being caught in front of the wickets, when trying to repeat a swing to the deep square leg region.
One over later, Kolkata were dealt another major blow, as Kallis, was comprehensively bowled by his South African teammate, Morne Morkel, who delivered a peach of a yorker, to remove him.
As if things could not get any worse, Manoj Tiwary, was delivered a brute of delivery the very next delivery after Kallis was dismissed, and could only watch as the ball cannoned into the stumps, leaving him looking on in total disbelief.
Indian big-hitter, Yusuf Pathan and Kolkata Captain, Gautam Gambhir, added 11 runs at a run rate of 9.42, before, Delhi struck with another wicket, when the dangerous Pathan, seemed to get into an awkward position, and could not get his glove out of the way, as the ball struck it and ended up safely in the hands of wicketkeeper, Naman Ohja.
Gambhir and Debabrata Das, seemed to provide a spark of life into the lifeless Kolkata innings, with a 23 run partnership, at a feverish run rate of 8.62.
But, just like all the other previous batsmen, Gambhir, was dismissed early into his innings, when he was bowled, after getting an inside edge when trying to run the ball down to the third man boundary.
There was trouble for the Knight Riders the very next ball as well, as Laxmi Shukla and Das, had a complete breakdown in communication, which led to a huge mix-up, resulting in Das being run out for 18 runs.
After the dismissal of Das, Shukla, caught fire and hammered the Delhi bowlers everywhere, while Rajat Bhatia seemed happy enough to just work the ball into the gap and look for the singles, to keep Shukla on strike.
Once the pair had scored 31 runs between them, Shukla, was looking to clear the boundary, but, ended up getting caught at long on, bringing an end to his great innings of 26 off 17 deliveries, which included a boundary and two sixes.
Three runs later, Bhatia, was brilliantly stumped by Naman Ohja off the bowling of Roelof van der Merwe, and all of a sudden, Kolkata were on their last pair of batsmen.
Kolkata were hoping to get at least a hundred runs on the board before being bowled out, but, it was not to be, since Brett Lee was run out brilliantly by Umesh Yadav, when he scored a direct hit from the deep square-leg region.
Morne Morkel, was the star of the Delhi bowling attack, as he claimed three wickets, while Roelof van der Merwe and Umesh Yadav, both took two wickets each, as Kolkata were restricted to a less than impressive score of 97 all out.
Delhi Daredevil’s opener and Captain, Virender Sehwag, along with Aaron Finch, were hoping to get off to a good start in their chase of just 98 runs.
From the very first ball of the innings, the pair looked to be in control of the situation, as they rotated the strike regularly, and dispatched any poor length deliveries to the boundary.
Finch, looked to be in terrific form, as he hammered boundary after boundary, while Sehwag, who is usually the more aggressive player, seemed to take a more passive role, and work the runs, which gave most of the strike to Finch.
The pair quickly started to post a commanding partnership, which started to worry Kolkata Captain, Gautam Gambhir, since his team had only posted 97 on the board.
With the fifty partnership within striking distance, Kolkata were rewarded with the big wicket of Finch on 30, when he tried to make room for himself to play a cut shot, but, ended up missing it completely, which resulted in the ball smashing into the stumps.
Just one over later, Sehwag, himself, was dismissed on 20, after he was caught by Iqbal Abdulla on the long-on boundary, when trying to loft one for six.
Irfan Pathan and Glenn Maxwell, were the new pair at the crease, and right from the beginning, Pathan, dominated the partnership, as he smashed boundaries left and right, as the the Kolkata fielders could only look on in awe.
Pathan, was in scorching form, as he guided Delhi home with his big hitting, while Maxwell, just had three runs in the 43 run partnership the pair put together.
Kolkata’s fate was sealed when Pathan flicked a delivery right to the boundary, giving Delhi an eight wicket victory.
Pathan, was awarded the Man of the Match award, ahead of Morne Morkel, for his amazing batting display, and said: “I wasn’t looking forward to hitting Yusuf for the boundary. The pace of the ball helped me time my shots.”
Rajat Bhatia and Jacques Kallis were the only bowlers to claim a wicket each in Kolkata’s rather miserable all-round match.
Kolkata Captain, Gautam Gambhir, was not happy with his team’s performance, but, gave credit to Delhi for their excellent performance.
“The way Morne bowled, he bowled some quality stuff. The total we had was a quality total in the end, but they batted well. Pathan was excellent with his batting,” he said.
Delhi Captain, Virender Sehwag, was pleased with the blistering performance the team had shown, and hoped it would continue throughout the tournament.
“Fielded very well. Finch outscored me, played very well,” he said.
With a rather pathetic performance, Kolkata will be hoping to put the loss behind them when they face off against the Rajasthan Royals on April 8 at Jaipur.
Delhi, meanwhile, will be looking to continue their win streak, when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 7 at Bangalore.