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The Delhi Daredevils became the first side to reach 10 points in this season's IPL with a crushing 8-wicket away win over the Pune Warriors. Delhi started the match by picking up 2 wickets for just 1 run and that meant that Pune were on the backfoot very early on. An unbeaten 145 run stand between Manish Pandey (80*) and Robin Uthappa (60*) steered them to 146/2 at the end of their 20 overs, easily 25-30 runs shy of a competitive score. While the Delhi spinners strangled the run flow in the middle overs, the Pune batsmen were guilty of delaying their charge, and should have ideally done a lot better. Delhi made quick work of the target as they raced to 99/1 in the first 10 overs thanks to some belligerent strokeplay from their skipper Virender Sehwag. The Nawab of Najafgarh finished the match off with a four and a six off consecutive deliveries to end unbeaten on 87 from 48 balls.
Delhi were looking for both instant revenge and top spot in the Indian Premier League table as they took on Pune in an afternoon game at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. The toss landed in Sourav Ganguly's favour who did not have any hesitation in electing to bat first on a wicket that was expected to have good carry and also had something for the spinners. There were negligible chances from the warring factions with Pune making the only one with England allrounder Luke Wright replacing the incumbent Sri Lankan Angelo Mathews, who has been struggling for some form in the IPL. Delhi stuck with their batsmen heavy combination and hoped that their bowlers would have some luck go their way this time around.
Jesse Ryder walked out to bat with a new partner in Manish Pandey, who was promoted up the order. It was the Daredevils though who were off to a terrific start as Irfan Pathan sent back the last game's hero Jesse Ryder off the second delivery of the innings with a ball that stayed low and crashed into the stumps. Pune skipper Sourav Ganguly followed him to the pavilion for 1 when he got a thick outside edge off Morne Morkel and the ball landed in the palms of the third man fielder. Manish Pandey, however, showed positive intent quickly racing to 19 from 14 balls, playing some smart dauntless strokes. Robin Uthappa was quiet early on, rotating the strike regularly as the two Indian batsman lead Pune's recovery, taking the score to 28 for two after the powerplay overs.
The duo of Pandey and Uthappa continued to play strokes to all parts of the ground in the subsequent overs, taking lots of ones and twos keeping the Delhi fielders busy. The usually alert Kevin Pieterson gifted Pandey an extra life when he dropped the opener at long on and then Pawan Negi gifted him one more when he dropped the Pune opener off his own bowling in the 16th over. Despite the dropped chances, Shahbaz Nadeem and Pawan Negi bowled a tight spell in tandem as Pune batsmen found difficult it to put the ball away to the fence.
Pandey brought up a well deserved fifty in the 15th over, getting to the landmark in 40 deliveries. The Pune Warriors had recovered well after the early jolts and they were placed for a late assault at 99 for two at the end of 16 overs.
The two set batsmen then took charge and accelerated the scoring rate with Umesh Yadav on the receiving end of some stick as the usually dependable pacer leaked away 40 runs from his allotted four overs. Pune also had considerable luck going their way with even the most remarkable of yorkers bowled by the purple cap holder Morne Morkel taking bottom edges off the bat or simply going between the batsman's legs for byes.
While Pandey played a blinder of an innings and remained unbeaten on 80 from just 56 balls, it was Uthappa who chose to play more cautiously scoring 60 at an ordinary strike rate of 103. Although the unbroken 3rd wicket 145 run partnership between Uthappa and Pandey landed them at 146 for 2 after 20 overs, the onslaught should have been more brutal with powerful hitters like Steve Smith and Luke Wright waiting to join the party.
Delhi opened the innings with the amazing duo of Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene once again, and despite the latter making a brisk start the partnership was worth only 22 with the latter being run out for 18 due to a horrible mix-up in the middle. Sehwag, who had been deprived of the strike thus far took his frustration out on Delhi Ranji mate Ashish Nehra, spanking the left-arm seamer for a couple of boundaries in the next over. The dashing Indian opener then welcomed Luke Wright to the IPL with a 4 and 6 off consecutive deliveries taking 12 runs off the Englishman's opening over. Nehra got an extra over, and was hammered for 15 as Kevin Pietersen decided to join in the fun. At the end of the powerplay the Daredevils were cruising at 61/1 and the target seemed well within sight.
Sourav Ganguly's magical spell in the last meeting between the two sides had rescued Pune from a similar Delhi onslaught, but there was to be no reprieve on this occasion with Sehwag once again opting to deal in boundaries, helping himself to two more off his former skipper. Murali Karthik sneaked in a rare quiet over, but the Daredevils cantered to 99/1 at the half-way stage of their innings and a massive win looked on the cards. Sehwag had eased his way to a 28-ball half-century and Pietersen was happy playing second fiddle on 25 from 18 balls.
Delhi lost a wicket against the run of play with Pietersen holing out to Rahul Sharma for 27 with the score on nelson. Ross Taylor came out to replace KP as the Delhi all star brigade showcased its full armoury. The fall of a wicket though meant that Sehwag played slightly within himself for the next couple of overs, only really lashing out when given a rank long hop.
The victory was sealed in the 16th over with Sehwag deciding that his side was now close enough to take a chance as he lofted Rahul Sharma into the stands to wrap up the contest.
Delhi will look to extend their supremacy over the rest of the league when they entertain the Mumbai Indians this coming Friday at the Feroz Shah Kotla, while the Pune Warriors will look to heap some more misery on the win-less Deccan Chargers when they take them on a day earlier.
PWI: J Ryder, R Uthappa, S Ganguly, S Smith, L Wright, M Manhas, M Pandey, A Thomas, M Kartik, R Sharma, A Nehra
DD: V Sehwag, N Ojha, K Pietersen, M Jayawerdene, R Taylor, Y Nagar, I Pathan, M Morkel, U Yadav, S Nadeem, P Negi
Pune Warriors 146/2 (20 overs, 7.3rpo)
M Pandey 80*(56) I Pathan 1-23
R Uthappa 60*(58) M Morkel 1-34
Delhi Daredevils 147/2 (16 overs, 9.25rpo)
V Sehwag 87*(48) R Sharma 1-33
K Pietersen 27(21)
Delhi win by 8 wickets with 4 overs to spare
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