Daredevils book playoff spot
Brendon McCullum and Mahela Jayawardene (AP)
New Delhi - Mahela Jayawardene struck an unbeaten half-century on Tuesday as the Delhi Daredevils beat the Kings XI Punjab by five wickets to become the first team to reach the Indian Premier League playoffs.
The Sri Lankan batsman hit eight fours to score 56 in 49 balls as Delhi totalled 140-5 in 19 overs after pace bowlers Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron combined to take five wickets to help restrict Punjab to 136-8 at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium.
Jayawardene added 48 with Naman Ojha (34), helping Delhi recover from 37-4 in the sixth over.
Ojha struck three fours and two sixes in a 29-ball knock, both his sixes coming off successive deliveries from leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. He was dropped on 22 by Chawla at long-on off Azhar Mahmood when Punjab were fighting to get back in the game.
Jayawardene guided the team to victory along with Irfan Pathan, who chipped in with 19 not out.
"There was some movement for fast bowlers and Varun and Umesh bowled beautifully," Delhi captain Virender Sehwag said. "We were expecting that Mahela would play till the end and finish the game. It is difficult to go in and play your shots, but he took his time and ensured the win."
Earlier, Punjab captain David Hussey struck an unbeaten 40 but found little support from team-mates.
Hussey, leading the side in place of compatriot Adam Gilchrist who has been out for most of the tournament due to a hamstring injury, struck one six and five fours in 35 balls.
In-form opener Mandeep Singh was the next highest scorer with 21 and one of Aaron's two victims, the other being Shaun Marsh in a haul of 2-19.
But Yadav was the most successful bowler in claiming the wickets of Nitin Saini, Azhar Mahmood and Piyush Chawla to finish with 3-21.
Delhi have won 10 games and lost four. Kings XI Punjab have seven wins and seven losses and need to win both remaining games, against Delhi and Chennai, to have a chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
Delhi Daredevils 140-5 in 19 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 56 not out, Naman Ojha 34, Parvinder Awana 3-22) def. Kings XI Punjab 136-8 (David Hussey 40 not out, Umesh Yadav 3-21, Varun Aaron 2-19).