Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag singlehandedly demolished Deccan Chargers bowlers with a blistering century to guide his team to a four-wicket victory in an IPL match in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Chasing a stiff target of 176, Sehwag took the Chargers attack to the cleaners, scoring 119 from only 56 balls, inclusive of 13 fours and five sixes, as his teammates made little contribution in the winning cause.
With eight points, Daredevils stay in the hunt for the play-offs; it was curtains for Chargers, who looked favourites till Sehwag struck like a tornado.
It was one of the most scintillating innings that one would have ever witnessed as Sehwag took it upon himself to accomplish what looked like 'Mission Impossible' after Daredevils were reduced to 25 for three.
Fortune favours the brave, and Sehwag got a couple respites due to sloppy fielding from the home team that saw a couple of catches being dropped. There couldn't have been a better birthday gift for his younger son than a blazing century.
Finally, when he was out in the 17th over, even the Chargers players came up to congratulate him.
Earlier, Dale Styen dismissed Aaron Finch (0) off the second delivery while Ishant Sharma quickly removed Naman Ojha (7) and Venugopal Rao (3) to reduce Daredevils to 25 for three. But little did one know what was in store.
Sehwag was unusually quiet during the first seven overs. It was the inexperienced Ishan Malhotra who became easy prey. The moment he was brought into the attack, Sehwag whipped him over fine leg for a six and followed it up with another over mid-wicket. Then he hit consecutive boundaries through deep mid-wicket and straight past the bowler. 23 runs came off the eighth over.
The next over from Daniel Christian saw Sehwag hit a couple of more boundaries. When Amit Mishra was introduced, he launched into him to hit over long-on for a six. It brought up his 50 from 27 balls and also surpassed Sachin Tendulkar to become the highest run-scorer in the ongoing tourney.
The very next delivery from Mishra saw Sehwag trying to hit over mid-wicket but the ball flew at a catchable height to Ankit Sharma, at sweeper cover, who bungled big time.
There was no end to Mishra's misery, as in the next over Sehwag hit one straight to long-off which Ravi Teja not only spilled but also let it cross the boundary ropes as it brought up Delhi's 100.
From overs 8-12, Daredevils scored 75 runs in five overs as Sehwag butchered the bowlers.
With no option left, Sangakkara brought on his best bowler, Steyn, who was slashed through point and then guided through the fine-leg region for two boundaries.
He slog swept Mishra for a six to get into the 90's. When Bharat Chipli came in he took a couple to complete his well deserved century in 48 balls. He then hit Chipli for two more sixes and a boundary as Daredevils closed in on victory.
Earlier, Jean-Paul Duminy finally came good with a slice of luck, his smashing 54 helping Deccan Chargers post a challenging 175 for five.
It was Duminy's power-hitting that saw Chargers score a whopping 108 runs in the last 10 overs, after scoring 67 in the first 10.
Off-spinner Yogesh Nagar 'dismissed' both Duminy and Daniel Christian (27, 22 balls, 2x4) in the 15th over.
Tragically, on both occasions he overstepped. While Christian got a boundary off the free-hit, Duminy's aerial shot yielded maximum.
That over from Nagar cost Daredevils 20 runs and gave the Chargers the necessary impetus. While Irfan Pathan (0/18 from 3 overs) and Aavishkar Salvi (1/26 from 4 overs) bowled well, it was Nagar (0/20 from 1 over), Venugopal Rao (0/12 from1 over) and James Hopes (1/29 from 3 overs) who gave away as many as 61 runs in the five overs they bowled between them.
Morne Morkel had a disappointing outing, going for 37 from his four overs, while Agarkar who got two wickets snf gave away 29 runs in his four-over spell.
The duo added 71 runs in only 5.3 overs courtesy Duminy, who hit as many as four sixes during his 30-ball knock. When he was finally run-out in the 18th over trying to go for a second run, Chargers had amassed 158.
Shikhar Dhawan started off on a brilliant fashion with a cover drive off the very first delivery of the match, bowled by Morne Morkel. Dhawan, who was a slow starter in the previous matches, looked in fine nick as he found the gaps easily. His opening partner Dwarka Ravi Teja (2) was quickly dismissed by Aavishkar Salvi.
Dhawan (29, 18 balls, 5x4) was joined by skipper Kumar Sangakkara (44, 36 balls, who launched into Morkel hitting him for three successive boundaries in the sixth over of the innings. The first one was a slog that went over slips. It was followed with a fantastic bowler's back drive and then another lofted drive over mid-off.
Dhawan was out trying to loft Agarkar over mid-on only to offer a simple catch to Salvi.
When Venugopal Rao came in, Sangakkara hit a beautiful cover drive and followed it up with a slog sweep. James Hopes finally got the DC skipper caught by his counterpart in the cover region. However DC's hopes making decisive inroads were dashed by Duminy-Christian duo who tore into the DD bowlers.