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IPL 2013: Away at home, Virat Kohli strikes

Aditya Iyer

Posted: May 11, 2013 at 1122 hrs IST
      

New Delhi: Amidst all the bass-heavy tunes vomited out by the stadium’s monster-sized speakers and somewhere between the relentless emcee’s call for the 638th countdown of the evening, the Ferozeshah Kotla experienced a noise-form far more head-splitting than all the surrounding aural hemorrhage. That sound, in fact, was the sound of dreadful silence.

It was first emitted in the third over of the game, a few seconds after Virat Kohli faced and subsequently edged his first ball. The Morne Morkel ball had reared up nastily off a good length, forcing Kohli to poke tentatively outside his off stick. The hairline nick was neatly collected by the Delhi Daredevils ‘keeper, forcing a momentary explosion of applause from the home supporters. Then the umpire stuck his right arm out. Morkel had overstepped. The Bangalore captain sighed. Countless index fingers probed into earlobes for deafness.

Delhi, though, didn’t seem satisfied letting Kohli off for what should have been a golden duck. Four overs later — with Bangalore struggling at a run-rate of seven runs an over — Kohli decided to step it up. Mistiming a short-of-length off-cutter by Siddharth Kaul, Kohli’s pull sailed towards Virender Sehwag at midwicket. A clumsy effort turned the arena mute, again. Kohli, then on 14, perhaps knew it was his day.

For a large part of the first innings, despite these two gaffes, Delhi hardly put a foot wrong. Captaining for the first time this season, David Warner’s bowling changes were crisp and his strategies to keep the Bangalore batsmen quiet had worked like a charm. To Chris Gayle, Warner got his bowlers to bowl either very short or very wide. Then when the first full ball was slipped in, he was bowled.

Similarly, Kohli was given very little on his pads. So by the end of the 16th over, he was unbeaten on 47, from 45 balls, and Bangalore had chugged along at well under seven an over for their 106 runs. And then it all went wrong. Wrong enough for Delhi to concede 77 runs from the last four overs.

The V in reverse

Off the first ball of the 17th, Morkel bowled a high full toss to fellow countryman, AB de Villiers. De Villiers had looked to make the ‘A’ (The V, in reverse) count by walking across his stumps ever since he came in, in the 14th over. Finally, he received just the ball to find the first six of the day, well over fine-leg’s head. There was no turning back (or ahead for AB) from there on. As de Villiers swept and reverse swept sixes, Kohli found the big ones in a far more conventional method.

Off the third ball of the 18th, he stood deep in his crease and smacked Umesh Yadav over long-on. And off the last ball , Kohli stepped out and dumped the ball over the sightscreen. Yadav, following Morkel’s 18-run over, had gone for 24.

With a further 12 runs scored from the penultimate over, Kohli, now batting on 76, set his sights on an hundred with six balls to go. Yadav obliged, conceding 2, 4, 4, 6 and 6 from the first five balls of his over, leaving Kohli two adrift. He was run out one short, a moment that must have made a ticket buyer wonder if anything at all would go his way in this stadium.

A target of 184 runs was always going to be difficult for Delhi, especially after Sehwag was hit twice in two balls in the first over, courtesy Ravi Rampaul bouncers. Yet, somehow, the match went down to the final over.

Here, with Irfan Pathan and Morkel at the crease, Delhi needed 19. Jaidev Unadkat, who flaunted figures of 4/11 from eighteen balls until then, ran in to bowl. He conceded 10 from his four four balls, arousing hopes of a miracle. But here in Delhi, even a Unadkat five-for (a clear beneficiary of the batsmen throwing their willows about) is more plausible than any sort of cheer for the home supporter.

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