x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Yuvraj Singh's exploits in vain as Delhi Daredevils battle to victory

An unbeaten 66 and four wickets is not enough to steer his Pune Warriors to a third IPL win as Delhi bat their way to a three-wicket win.

Yuvraj Singh was in top form with bat and ball, but he could not help Pune to their third win against Delhi.
Yuvraj Singh was in top form with bat and ball, but he could not help Pune to their third win against Delhi.

Yuvraj Singh smashed a belligerent, unbeaten 66 and took four wickets, but in vain as the Delhi Daredevils battled to their first Indian Premier League (IPL) win of the season with a strong batting performance in a thrilling three-wicket triumph.

Yuvraj's innings and a 60 from Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand batsman, up the order had allowed the Pune Warriors to put 187 for five on the board, but David Warner (46) and Virender Sehwag (37) got the Delhi run-chase off to a positive start before the middle-order took them across the line with three wickets to spare.

"You always want to get your first win, especially in this competition," Warner said. "Hopefully, this brings momentum back home to Delhi.

"When you bat first, we didn't know how hard to go. Obviously, chasing we had serious depth in our batting there."

Keeping that in mind, Sehwag put Pune in to bat after winning the toss. Graeme Smith (12) top-edged a pull shot to third man and Pune had lost their first wicket for 28.

Ryder, however, was in a punishing mood at the other end and the home side scored 35 from the next two overs, racing to 63 after six overs.

The New Zealander reached his 50 from 24 balls, off a six, but departed soon after, clipping Shahbaz Nadeem to backward square-leg for an entertaining 27-ball 60.

Following his departure, the Warriors lost their rhythm a bit before Yuvraj Singh finished off with a flourish. Arguably, the recent World Cup's man of the tournament smacked a 32-ball 66 as the Pune Warriors finished on 187 for five. He took a particular liking to Ashok Dinda, smashing him for three sixes in the final over, which was worth 26 runs.

Undaunted, Warner and Sehwag came out guns blazing and 50 was on the board after only 29 balls. Pune got a breather when the Australian left-hander was run-out trying to pinch for a second.

Delhi had 75 on the board then from seven overs and to keep the momentum going, they promoted Irfan Pathan. A 22-run partnership followed before Ryder breached Sehwag's (37) defence.

Pathan (14) followed 19 runs later, hoisting Yuvraj to deep midwicket and Naman Ojha (11) was stumped next ball. Rahul Sharma then caught Matthew Wade (3) lbw and Delhi were five down for 120, still needing 68 runs from six overs.

They needed 41 from the last three and 20 of those runs came from the 18th as Aaron Finch clubbed Shrikant Wagh for two massive sixes.

Yuvraj dismissed Finch (25) with the first ball of the next over, but Venugopal Rao (31), Delhi's top run-getter this season, took his team within eight runs of victory before becoming the Pune captain's fourth victim.

James Hopes (13 not out) then took Daredevils across the finish line with a six and four from the first two balls of the final over.

* Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi with Agencies