By Sunil Gavaskar
After the first half of the tournament when more teams won away from home, the trend now seems to be shifting the other way with teams winning at home more than earlier. The Delhi Daredevils squeezed out a narrow one run win over the Rajasthan Royals at home. The win is all the more remarkable since the Royals lost only three wickets and one of them off the last ball of their innings. No team should be losing when they have seven wickets in hand unless they are chasing a massive total which the Royals were not. Their bowlers had done a marvellous job in restricting the powerful Delhi batting to only 151 which is an asking rate of just above 7 runs an over and that by T20 standards is nothing. Virender Sehwag has now hit four successive fifties and has realised that the longer he stays at the crease the more runs he will get. He has such an incredible range of shots that if he pulls them out one by one then he will always score runs. It is when he tries to hit even before he has settled down that he fails and not just in this format of the game but in Test cricket too.
In fact if he has a calm look at all his big scores in Test cricket he will find that he has given himself almost an hour before unfurling his strokes. When he does that he makes up for the slow start and gets runs at more than a run a ball. It is when he is trying to live up to his media image of being a swashbuckler from the word go that he flounders.
Ajinkya Rahane lost the orange cap to Chris Gayle a day earlier and Gayle lost it to Sehwag but Rahane grabbed it back with another tremendous batting display. Once again he used the straight bat and looked to time the ball rather than power it away. Even when he hit the six he used the pace of the bowler and his wrists rather than his forearms and shoulders. It is this which is making him have more control over his shots and getting him boundaries almost at will. Yes, he will be unhappy that he wasn’t able to take his team to a win but the match now in Jaipur against the same opponents gives him just the chance he needs to reverse the result.
The other game between the Pune warriors and Deccan Chargers is a chance for Pune to return the favour to the Chargers who got their first win in Pune.