Invaluable unbeaten cameos from Mahela Jayawardene (36) and Luke Pomersbach (25) helped Kings XI Punjab beat Delhi Daredevils by six runs via Duckworth-Lewis system in a weather-truncated IPL tie at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday.
Chasing a revised target of 123 in 11 overs, the Punjab side batted braving light drizzle early in their innings and eventually finished at 94 for three in eight overs when play was suspended with the visitors six runs ahead of the hosts.
Jayawardene's 17-ball 36 included three sixes and two fours, while Pomersbach's 25 came off 12 balls. Earlier, Sehwag slammed an unbeaten half century as Delhi Daredevils finished on 118 for four in 11 overs. Sehwag's brief violent knock included two fours and five sixes, while Gautam Gambhir chipped in with a 28-ball 40.
Kings XI Punjab received an early jolt in the second over when Pradeep Sangwan removed in-form Shaun Marsh (2) with Shikhar Dhawan running backwards to take a blinder. Next man in Yuvraj Singh hoicked Sangwan over the ropes and hit Glenn McGrath for back-to-back sixes but the Australian had the last laugh when Ferveez Maharoof took a brilliant catch to send back the left-hander after an eight-ball sizzler of 23.
Jame Hopes (4) too could not make his mark but Jayawardene and Pomersbach played smart cricket to see their side through. Electing bat after winning the toss, Sehwag thrived on the largess of opposite number Yuvraj who missed a skier when the batsman was on six.
The gleeful Delhi captain made most of the life before heavens opened up to cut short his batting pyrotechnics. After a drizzle-delayed start, Ferozeshah Kotla's near-capacity crowd expected that it would rain fours and sixes as Sehwag and Gambhir walked in to open the innings.
Instead, the crowd twice had their heart in the mouth as both the batsmen got a life each in the dramatic third over from S. Sreesanth. Sreesanth, the slap-gate protagonist, had been tormenting
Sehwag all along and he finally managed to induce a skier from the swashbuckler, then on six, only to see Yuvraj, of all people, spill it at mid-off.
Two balls later, Gambhir's slash flew to VRV Singh at third man but the fielder was in two minds whether to go for the catch or stop the boundary and he ended up doing neither. Given his volatile temper, Sreesanth did well to retain his smile at the end of the over even though it seemed sarcastic and the visitors looked in horror as sloppy fielding spread like a rash.
Sehwag responded by milking 22 off VRV's first over, following up back-to-back sixes with a four, even though Gambhir lost his furniture to IPL debutant Ramesh Powar after a breezy 40, having featured in a 75-run opening stand.
Sehwag was in no mood to relent as he went after the spin twins of Powar and Piyush Chawla, hitting them over the ropes with characteristic nonchalance. Neither Sreesanth's probing line, nor Chawla's guile could stop Sehwag - it eventually required a heavenly intervention to halt the Delhi skipper's progress.
By the time play resumed, it was truncated to an 11-overs-a-side affair and Shikhar Dhawan (8), perished trying to up the ante, as did Tillakaratne Dilshan (8) and Ferveez Maharoof (0).
Delhi Daredevils may have conceded their sixth defeat in 11 matches but skipper Virender Sehwag insists semifinal hopes are not over yet for his side. Talking to reporters after the Daredevils lost a
weather-marred tie to Kings XI Punjab via Duckworth-Lewis method, Sehwag said it was sad to lose such a tight match but his team was not out of the reckoning yet.
"I don't think the semifinal hopes are over. We have to win the next three games and continue the way we are playing. I guess we have to force win in tight matches," he said. Sehwag conceded his expensive over proved costly in the end in the truncated tie.
"In hindsight, may be bowling that over with Glenn McGrath would have been a better idea but then we did not expect rain and I thought of saving him for the later stage. "Had the match been played full 20 overs, we would have scored nearly 200 runs, which should have been good enough," he rued.
Kings XI captain Yuvraj Singh admitted rain favoured his side, though he felt his side needed to improve in fielding. "The rain helped our cause and I wanted to chase right from the start. Anyway, our fielding has been quite sloppy and I started it by dropping Viru (Sehwag), which could have proved costly but rain saved us," he said.
Mahela Jayawardene, whose unbeaten 36 off 17 ball not only saw Punjab through but also earned him the Man of the Match award, said he had decided to go after Sehwag. "It was a challenge to get ahead of them, especially after losing three wickets. I knew we were some 15-20 runs behind them and had to take chance. "So when Viru came, I decided to go after him and that paid off," added the Sri Lankan.