New Delhi, May 8 (UNI) Opener Gautam Gambhir hit a magnificent 49-ball 80 to lead Delhi Daredevils to a competetive 187 for five against Chennai Super Kings at the Feroz Shah Kotla here today.
Put in to bat first by Super Kings' skipper Mahender Singh Dhoni, Gambhir combined with his captain Virender Sehwag to give Daredevils a solid start. Both the openers added 45 runs in 30 balls.
Sehwag was looking in ominous form as he dispatched the first ball he faced for a four over the point. But the dangerous looking batsman was soon shown the way to the pavilion by Manpreet Gony, who clean bowled the Daredevils' skipper.
Sehwag made 23 off 18 balls and hit three fours.
The Super Kings did not have to wait long for their second victim as in the next over AB de Villiers found no answer to his South African teammate Albie Morkel's yorker and went without troubling the scorers.
However, Gambhir had other plans and did not let the Super Kings take advantage of the oppoortunity. Left-hander Shikhar Dhawan joined Gambhir and both the batsmen led the charege for the home team.
Gambhir and Dhawan added 121 runs in just 70 balls. Dhoni kept changing his bowlers over after over but the duo defied him from taking their wickets.
While Gambhir's innings was studded with 11 fours and two sixes, Dhawan's innings of 59 (46 balls) included six fours and two sixes.
Gambhir along with his sensible play rode his luck too and was gifted a life by Suresh Raina who missed an easy run out chance when the opener was half way down the pitch. But from there on, Gambhir did not look back and on his way surpassed his captain for the Orange Cap and emerged the leading run scorer in the tournament.
For Super Kings, Muttiah Murlitharan was the most economical bowler giving away 25 runs off his four overs however he went wicketless. Morkel though, guilty of conceding too many runs, scalped two important wickets from his four overs and gave 35 runs.
Discarded from the national side, pace bowler Laxmipati Balaji also claimed two wickets. He was introduced in the 10th over by Dhoni and by that time the batsmen were well settled and launched an onslaught on him. His four overs went for 35 runs.
Dhoni's boys will now have to play really well as they have a tough job at hands especially to play away the spells of pace spearhead Glen McGrath and Mohammad Asif.
UNI RAR RKM AS1828