Devilish AB century seals win for Delhi outfit

2009-04-24 00:00

IN the game of the tournament so far, an AB de Villiers century saw the Delhi Daredevils pip the Chennai Superkings by nine runs in the IPL contest at Kingsmead yesterday.

De Villiers struck a wonderful 105 not out, moving from 50 to three figures in a startling 16 balls as the Daredevils piled up 189 for five in their 20 overs.

De Villiers was particularly severe on two of the world’s best allrounders: Freddie Flintoff and Titans team-mate Albie Morkel.

Morkel paid dearly for dropping a dolly when De Villiers was on 50, as the Proteas star lashed six sixes and five fours all over Kingsmead.

He received handy support from Sri Lankan Tillekaratne Dilshan, whose 50 off 27 balls was carved out as De Villiers was getting his eye in.

De Villiers plundered 21 off five balls from Flintoff, to move from 79 to the first 100 of this year’s IPL.

The daunting total was made to look below par at the start of the Superkings’ chase, as a belligerent Matthew Hayden smashed, sliced and smeared his way to 57 off just 27 balls.

At the halfway stage, the Superkings were well ahead of the required rate, with the batting power of Morkel, Flintoff and skipper MS Dhoni still in reserve.

The match turned with the introduction of a couple of Antipodeans.

Kiwi spinner Daniel Vettori bowled an intelligent spell, whilst substitute fielder David Warner helped himself to two vital catches, saving several runs before applying the coup de grace with a spectacular direct hit in the frenetic final over.

Flintoff and Morkel, somewhat surprisingly, failed to lift the tempo as the Superkings wobbled to 166 for five after 18 overs.

Vettori’s final over, the 19th, saw only nine runs — and two wickets.

Australian wild card Dirk Nannes then held his nerve as five runs and two more wickets came off the final over, leaving the Daredevils victors by nine runs.

The decent lunchtime crowd saw 369 runs plundered in 40 overs, as two of the more balanced outfits in the IPL produced some wonderful cricket.

There was great bowling from Laksham Balaji for the Chennai outfit, Flintoff and Warner excelled in the outfield, and Hayden showed he still has a lusty blow or two in him.

But the day belonged to the dashing De Villiers, whose knock simmered at the start, before exploding into life when it mattered.

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