Karthik blast keeps Daredevils in hunt for semifinal berth(Lead)

May 25th, 2008 - 1:33 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Powered by Dinesh Karthik’s explosive half century, Delhi Daredevils pulled off a thrilling five-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians here Saturday night and improved their chances for a semifinal berth in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Set to chase 177, Daredevils faltered in the middle overs before Karthik (56 off 32 balls) and Farvez Maharoof (20 off 13) stole the show with brilliant hitting in the final overs.

Karthik, who had not done much in the tournament so far, chose the right day to stamp his class with a knock that included four boundaries and three sixes before the home crowd. Karthik and Maharoof brought up 49 runs to see the team through with a ball to spare.

Delhi needed eight runs in the last over and Maharoof hit two boundaries off Ashish Nehra to punch the air in elation.

With this win, Daredevils have pocketed 15 points and remain fourth in the points tally while Mumbai Indians slumped to their second defeat on trot.

But Mumbai Indians have two matches to go and Daredevils would have to hope that the Mumbai team lose at least one, either against Rajasthan Royal or Bangalore Royal Challengers, to ensure that they are in the semis.

Daredevils’ run chase started on a blistering note with captain Virender Sehwag showing murderous intentions. He took 19 runs, including three boundaries and a six, off Shaun Pollock in the very first over.

But in the very next over, Sehwag exposed his leg-stump while trying to whip a Nehra delivery and got bowled.

Gautam Gambhir (19) shone for some time with few clean hits. he blasted Andre Nel for a boundary and six before perishing in the same over while attempting another biggie.

Shikhar Dhawan (27) and Manoj Tiwary (36) tried to stem the rot and shared a 39-run stand before Dwayne Smith struck twice off successive deliveries.

Dhawan hit the ball high but failed to clear the boundary and Siddharth Chitnis did well to hold it. Tilekratne Dilshan’s stumps were rattled and it left Dardeveils reeling at 89 for four in 10.5 overs.

Karthik and Tiwary kept Daredevils’ hopes alive. Karthik took on the responsibility to score quick runs with the asking rate soaring up. A terrible mix-up between the duo saw Tiwary stranded in the middle and was run out. Daredevils needed 56 runs from the last six overs and then 40 runs in four overs.

Karthik and Maharoof picked 15 from Dhawal Kulkarni in the 17th over. Karthik then lofted Nel for a straight six to bring the equation to run-a-ball before Maharoof finished the match.

Earlier, Sehwag’s decision to field backfired with Sanath Jayasuriya (66) baying for the bowlers’ blood right from the start.

Jayasuriya might have taken a few matches to get his bearings in this Twenty20 tournament but since his explosive century against Chennai Super Kings, he has been his old self. His effortless batting has been a treat to watch and reminds of the days of his yore.

Sehwag gave the new ball to Brett Geeves who faced the music from Jayasuriya.

All eyes were fixed on another interesting battle - Glenn McGrath vs. Sachin Tendulkar (18). Tendulkar faced five deliveries from Mcgrath and hit two boundaries. He cut a widish delivery to third man for the first boundary. The second one was sheer delight. Tendulkar leaned forward, gently caressing the delivery through the extra cover region.

At the other end, Jayasuriya was dealing in fours and sixes. The second over from Geeves went for 15 while youngster V. Yo Mahesh’s (36-4) first over cost 17 runs with Jayasuriya hitting back-to-back sixes. The 50 came in 5.3 overs but Mumbai Indians could not maintain the same strike rate and once Jayasuriya fell, they crumbled.

Yo Mahesh came back to remove Tendulkar with a brilliant delivery that came back a long way to crash through the defence of the master batsman.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra led the fightback for Daredevils as he kept a belligerent Jayasuriya under check and finally managed to get his wicket. Jayasuriya was deceived in the flight and perished while trying to hit Mishra over long-on only to find the safe hands of Dilshan. Mishra gave only 23 runs in his quota of four overs plucking one wicket.

Jayasuriya’s 66 came in 42 balls and included six boundary and five sixes. After his departure, Mumbai lost the plot with the Daredevils bowlers bowling to a steady line.

The stage was set for a late assault but wickets tumbled at regular intervals. Robin Uthappa (46 not out off 33 balls) played a lone hand in helping Mumbai to a challenging score. Uthappa hit two sixes off Yo Mahesh in the last over to shore up the total.

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