Paul Collingwood has done it so often for his national team and he did it for the Delhi Daredevils last night. As is his wont, the defiant but unpretentious Englishman rescued his team from trouble with an innings that has become his hallmark. The England Twenty20 captain stroked a back-to-the-wall unbeaten 75 after Delhi were 90 for four. His rescue act allowed the home bowlers to successfully defend 184 for five against a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore batting line-up. The visitors eventually finished 37 runs short.
Collingwood once again proved, as he has claimed in the past, that matter is weightier than style as he stole the limelight, and the man-of-the-match award, from such darling of fans like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor. "I did pretty well," he said. "Obviously being in Bangladesh for five weeks probably helped me. But we played quite well as a team and full credit goes to everybody in the think department."
Gautam Gambhir, the Delhi captain, was glowing in his praise of the player and said: "Collingwood set the game up for us perfectly. The way he was striking the ball was amazing." Collingwood resurrected the Delhi innings with two valuable partnerships. He added 34 runs from four overs with Kedar Jadhav (seven) and 60 from 33 balls in an unbroken association with Daniel Vettori who was 19 not out. He dominated the scoring in both those stands, treating the Bangalore attack with contempt in his 46-ball knock that included seven sixes and three fours.
With enough runs on the board to defend, Amit Mishra, the leg-spinner, and Farveez Maharoof, Rajat Bhatia and Pradeep Sangwan, the medium pacers, frustrated the Bangalore batsmen, taking the pace off the ball and bowling a nagging line. Their efforts ensured the visitors scored just 56 runs in the first 10 overs. Mishra, who opened the attack, took three for 32, which took his tally to 14 and he stood proud on receiving the purple cap, given to the leading wicket-taker. "I have been waiting for this cap for the last two years. So this is really pleasing. I am really happy to be doing the job for my team," Mishra said. * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi, with agencies