Last night's clash between the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians was billed as a showdown between two of world cricket's most destructive batsmen - Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar - but yet again, the game refused to follow the script. The duel never materialised as Sehwag fizzled out after Tendulkar's exquisite innings had set the Daredevils a challenging 219 for victory. The Delhi opener, who got off to a fiery start, skied one to long-off and the Mumbai stalwart waved his hand in celebration and shrieked with delight.
With Gautam Gambhir pulling a hamstring in the first over of the game, Tendulkar knew only Sehwag stood between the Mumbai Indians and their second successive win. Once he was gone, the match was in the bag; the Delhi Daredevils struggled to get anywhere close to the finish line, falling short by 98 runs. Tendulkar deservedly received the individual honours for the game after setting the foundations for Mumbai's win. He and Saurabh Tiwary both smashed exciting 60s as the visitors racked up their second consecutive 200-plus score; an impressive 218 for seven with a valuable contribution from Ambati Rayudu as well.
Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya, the elder statesmen of world cricket with more than 52,000 international runs between them, got the Mumbai Indians off to a flying start, negating Dirk Nannes's early threat and adding 38 runs from 3.4 overs before a stunning overhead catch by Yogesh Nagar, the Daredevils' substitute, ended the Sri Lankan's night. Runs continued to flow, however, and the first powerplay of six overs had brought the visitors 67 runs. Halfway through their innings, they had 112 for two on the board with Tendulkar reaching his 50 from 23 balls - the fastest half-century by a Mumbai Indians batsman in the Indian Premier League (IPL) - along the way.
After adding a further 13 runs, the "Little Master" was walking back to the pavilion after another brilliant catch by Nagar, this time diving low in front at long-off. But there was no respite for the Daredevil bowlers as Tiwary (61) and Rayudu (34) continued the good run rate as they battered the attack to all parts of the park. They added 73 runs from 6.5 overs and reduced Kieron Pollard's debut to a fleeting appearance towards the end. The West Indian, reportedly the most expensive player in the IPL, will have to wait for his moment. The Daredevils, on the other hand, will be sweating over the fitness of Gambhir. He pulled a hamstring chasing the Mumbai Indians' first runs off the bat and did not return to the field even to bat as the Daredevils finished on 120 for nine with three overs to spare. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org