Cape Town: An uncharacteristically patient 52 off 44 balls from Virender Sehwag helped the Delhi Daredevils go top of the table in Group A of the Champions League Twenty20 after a three-wicket win over Perth Scorchers here Sunday.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) side made heavy weather of chasing down the Scorchers’ score of 121 for five.
Loss of wickets at regular intervals didn’t help Delhi’s cause as they stuttered to a score of 123 for seven in 19.3 overs, thanks largely to Sehwag’s gritty innings.
The Daredevils (10 points) leapfrogged the Titans (8) to the top spot in the group, having played one game extra. New Zealand side Auckland Aces are a close third with six points.
After being put in to bat, the Scorchers lost former South African opener Herchelle Gibbs (6) early. Australian pair Shaun Marsh (39) and Simon Katich (34) forged a 73-run stand for the second wicket to put their team in the driving seat.
However, Marsh’s downfall started the slide for the Australian outfit as they failed to gain momentum in their innings. Katich too departed soon, which further slowed down Perth’s run-rate.
Even with wickets in hand the Scorchers failed to get their innings going. Pacers Morne Morkel (3-19) and Ajit Agarkar (2-14) bowled beautifully, helping restrict the opposition to the meagre score.
Delhi Daredevils in reply were woeful. Barring Sehwag, none of the batsmen tried to apply themselves at the crease, instead opting for expansive shots on a difficult wicket. The Daredevils’ famed batting line-up crumbled under pressure and the side was soon reduced 60 for four in 10 overs.
All-rounder Irfan Pathan (14) and Sehwag stitched a 34-run partnership for the fifth wicket as the Daredevils inched towards the target.
Pathan and Sehwag fell in quick succession to put the cat amongst the pigeons. Young Pawan Negi (7 not out) and Agarkar (11 not out) held their nerves towards the end to take Delhi over the finishing line.