Virender Sehwag (77) and David Warner (77) cracked blistering half-centuries as Delhi Daredevils revived their IPL campaign by edging past strong contenders Kings XI Punjab by 29 runs in a high-scoring thriller in New Delhi on Saturday.
The Delhi openers took the Punjab attack by the scruff of its neck and led the hosts to a mammoth 231 for four, the highest total of the fourth edition and third-best overall, after being invited to bat at Ferozshah Kotla ground.
Chennai Super Kings's 246 for five against Rajasthan Royals last year is the highest total by any IPL team in all seasons. Chennai also has the second best total of 240 for five to its name, scored in 2008 against Kings XI Punjab.
Sehwag and Warner delivered when the team needed them the most as they produced the best first-wicket partnership of the tournament so far by scoring 146 runs in just 11.3 overs.
The hosts snapped Punjab's three-match winning streak by restricting them to 202 for six in their 20 overs.
Chasing 232 to win, Punjab's Shaun Marsh produced a sensational innings of 95 runs off just 46 balls but it was Delhi's day out in the end. Marsh's incredible knock was studded with nine fours and six sixes.
It was Delhi's second win in five matches and first at home. They desperately needed this victory as they were placed at the bottom of the points table after suffering defeats against Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers.
The 'green' wicket, which was prepared to assist the home fast bowlers, turned out to be a batting paradise as Sehwag, Warner and later on Marsh punished the bowlers severely and at will.
Kings XI Punjab put up a brave fight despite losing the new batting sensation Paul Valthaty (14) early on with Australian duo of skipper Adam Gilchrist (42) and Marsh sharing a quick-fire 72-run stand for the second wicket.
Gilchrist was in awesome touch as he hit Ajit Agarkar for four consecutive fours in his first over but Varun Aaron, dubbed as India's fastest bowler, ended the rival skipper's innings by cleaning him up in the 11th over.
Marsh continued to hammer Delhi bowlers but wickets continued to fall from the other end as Dinesh Karthik (6) and David Hussey (20) perished while trying to accelerate.
Marsh took his side close to the target but the score eventually proved too big for the visitors. Marsh missed his century when his mis-timed shot landed in the safe hands of Sehwag in the 18th over.
Only thrice a score in excess of 200 has been chased in the IPL history and it was really a hard job for Punjab to add to that number.
Earlier, the Delhi openers gave their team a blistering start, wielding their bats at will as none of the Punjab bowlers was spared the brutal spanking.
Sehwag's 77-run knock came off 35 balls and had eight fours and four sixes while Warner took 48 balls for his 77, laced with 11 boundaries including four shots over the fence.
Venugopal Rao (28 off 15) and Naman Ojha (19 off 8) played some lusty shots in the end in the team's cause and also spoiled Ryan Harris' figures (0/48) by taking 22 runs from his last over.
Praveen Kumar had an off day as he leaked 38 runs in his first spell of three overs, but Ryan Harris did trouble both the openers. Except for a short ball, which Warner smashed for a six over the mid-wicket, the Australian paceman hit the right areas.
Warner was aggressive right from the word go as he hit Praveen for two boundaries in the very first over of the match.
Sehwag did not have a convincing start but right after flicking Praveen for a mid-wicket boundary he got his touch back and then smashed the same bowler for three boundaries in the fifth over.
Skipper Gilchrist brought in Shalabh Srivastava but the left-arm paceman ended up conceding 18 runs with Warner creaming him for a four and a six, propelling the score to 70 for no loss after the power-play.
Warner raised his half-century with a cracking mid-wicket six off Paul Valthaty and then team's 100 with a four two balls later, setting the stage for an exciting finish. He took just 29 balls to reach the landmark.
Sehwag hit his first six off Srivastava just after completing his fifty, which came off just 28 balls.
The Delhi marauder just got better and better as he welcomed David Hussey, playing his first game, with three massive sixes. The skipper perished while looking for his fourth consecutive six.
Delhi needed Warner to stay till the end but Praveen Kumar somehow made up for the poor first spell by having the Australian southpaw caught by Harris at long-on.
Yet, Venugopal and Ojha did well for the team, which is desperately looking for a win to bring their campaign back on track.