Virender Sehwag, the swashbuckling India opener, became the first batsman to hit five consecutive half-centuries in Twenty20 cricket when he scored 73 in Delhi Daredevils' six-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last night.
Sehwag smashed a six and 12 fours in 38 balls as Delhi reached 144 for four in 15.2 overs after Rajasthan had scored 141 for six at Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
Kevin Pietersen, the England batsman, who was playing his last game before returning home for the Test series against West Indies, chipped in with 36.
But the fact Rajasthan only managed to put 141 runs on the board was due to the brilliant bowling by a young left-arm spinner by the name Pawan Negi.
The 19-year-old bowler, who has played in all of two first-class matches for the Delhi Ranji Trophy team, took four wickets for just 18 runs in his four-over spell to be named man of the match.
"I was under pressure [because] they were well placed when I came on [to bowl]," Negi said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Indeed, Rajasthan faltered after a steady 71-run stand for the first wicket between captain Rahul Dravid (57) and Ajinkya Rahane (42). Negi, who bowled a nagging line and length, first dismissed Rahane - the highest accumulator of runs so far this season - before taking the wickets of Brad Hodge, Shane Watson and Ashok Menaria - all batsmen with form and reputation.
"I'm feeling good, I bowled well and I enjoyed myself," the youngster said before adding that, "I have got to learn a lot here interacting with players of the Delhi squad."
Sehwag, who was injured for most of last season's IPL, said his team were well placed in the competition. "I think when we started, we were not favourites," he said. "I hope we can continue to be in this sort of form.
"I think I'm lucky that I scored five fifties in a row," he added.
Dravid, the Rajasthan captain, was obviously disappointed with their batting. "We lost wickets [after] we got a good start. 180 was a par score and we set ourselves up for that. We played our strongest batting line-up of the tournament, so I'm surprised. It's probably the first game out of the 10 where we played poor cricket."
Delhi increased their lead in the standings having recorded eight wins from 10 games, two more than Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rajasthan have four wins from 10.
Sangakkara scored 82 off 52 deliveries with two sixes and 10 fours while White got 74 off 45 with four sixes and four fours as Deccan amassed a huge 186 for four on a good batting pitch at the Barabati Stadium.
Pune scored 173 for five in reply.
Deccan were struggling at 23 for two in the fifth over when Sangakkara and White came together to produce the teamís best stand for any wicket this season, a partnership that started steadily before gathering pace.
The pair added 49 runs off 11 balls during the 18th and 19th overs before Wayne Parnell bowled a tight last over in which he conceded only six runs to limit the damage a little.
Sangakkara smashed Marlon Samuels, the off-spinner, for 19 runs in an over that included four fours, and struck Ashish Nehra, the left-arm fast bowler, for 24 with two sixes and two fours in the penultimate over.
He was then bowled off the last ball of that over from Nehra.
White bludgeoned three consecutive sixes as captain Sourav Ganguly, a part-time medium pacer, went for 25 in the 18th over. He was out in the last over from Parnell as the Australian holed out to long-off.
For Pune, Steven Smith stroked an unbeaten 47 to keep the team in contention after the captain Sourav Ganguly (45) and Michael Clarke (41) had done the initial hard work.
Bottom-place Deccanís only previous win also came against Pune and they now have two wins from nine outings with six losses and a no-result. Pune have four wins and six losses from 10 outings.
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