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Friday, May 22, 2009
Hyderabad in the Final of IPL Cricket 2009
Adam Gilchrist is the new Nizam and Hyderabad are a step away from being the champions of India. No, Team Delhi didn’t do anything
Gilchrist plays a shot against Delhi at SuperSport Park in Centurion
wrong, just that they were dazzled by an old man’s frenzy that threw them out of the IPL, yet again in the semi-finals.
Gilchrist went back in time, probably to March 23, 2003, when he rattled India in an opening burst to help Australia retain the World Cup. There was a sense of deja vu as Ashish Nehra ran into bowl, and Gilchrist put him out of the park with effortless ease, just as he had done some six years back.
The assault, though, started with a brutal attack on one of the best bowler of the tournament, Dirk Nannes. Chasing 154, he took 21 off Nannes’ first over, employing all the shots that could have been played. Anything short was hooked or pulled mercilessly, and if the bowler dared to pitch it up, it was driven down the ground.
Spinners came on as early as the fifth over, but there was no shift in momentum. Gilly swept Pragyan Ojha and when he hit three sixes in a Virender Sehwag over, the writing was on the wall.
Looking clueless and dispirited, Delhi merely hoped that Gilly would play a wrong shot and get out. He edged one to get out in the 10th over, but by then the score was 102, off which the legend had contributed 85 (off 35 balls)!
The rest was child’s play and with the likes of Andrew Symonds around, it took Hyderabad eight more overs to reach the target.
Earlier, Gilly’s decision to play medium-pacer Ryan Harris paid off as he dismissed Gautam Gambhir and David Warner in the first over.
The Hyderabad attack was looking all charged up, but Sehwag knew how important it was for him to stay at the wicket. The Delhi dasher never took a backward step and kept counter-attacking the Hyderabad attack. Standing tall, he carted Harris and RP Singh around the park and Tillekeratne Dilshan (65 off 51 balls), too, gave him excellent support.
It had to be the strategy break to break Viru’s rhythm and right after the interval, the skipper missed the line of an Andrew Symonds delivery to be caught plumb in front.
But Dilshan carried on with the good work that he had been doing right through the tournament, finding the gaps and keeping the scoreboard ticking.
He was joined by AB de Villiers, who attacked right away and it seemed that a score of 170 was on the cards. But RP struck right when the game was drifting away from them, inducing an edge off AB, and Hyderabad were back in the hunt. Both RP and Harris were excellent in the last few overs, pitching it right up in the blockhole and varying the pace, which made it difficult for a well-set Dilshan to give the final push to the innings.
But with the kind of form Gilchrist was in, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference either.