Morkel shines for Daredevils
Morne Morkel (Gallo Images)
Dharamshala - Pace bowlers Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav shared seven wickets as Delhi Daredevils geared up for the playoffs with a resounding six-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Morkel grabbed 4-20 and Yadav took 3-19 as Punjab was restricted to 141-8 after being put in to bat on a lively track at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium. Delhi scored 145-4 in 18.2 overs with opener David Warner slamming a 44-ball 79 with four sixes and 10 fours.
The task was made easy for Delhi as Warner started aggressively, hitting a six off the first delivery he faced from Praveen Kumar and later hitting other seamer Parvinder Awana for 23 runs in an over, including three sixes.
Warner was dropped by Gurkeerat Singh at the square-leg boundary off the last ball of that over from Awana, when on 46, and continued to unleash a barrage of boundaries.
"It was a good end to the league stage for us," said Delhi captain Mahela Jayawardene, leading the side in place of Virender Sehwag. "We will start all over again in the playoffs but will look to take the confidence ahead."
Earlier, Morkel and Yadav ripped through the Punjab batting and the home side was reduced to 20-4 in the sixth over before fighting back.
Yadav removed openers Adam Gilchrist and Mandeep Singh while also getting rid of David Hussey. Morkel removed Paul Valthaty in his opening spell and then came back to dismiss well-set batsmen Azhar Mahmood and Gurkeerat Singh in his second spell.
The total was lent some respectability as No. 5 batsman Siddharth Chitnis chipped in with a 36-ball 38 and then Pakistan allrounder Mahmood (36) and Gurkeerat Singh (26) added 45 runs for the sixth wicket.
Delhi, which was the first team to book a passage to the knockout stage, ensured it would remain the top ranked team as it finished with 11 wins and five losses.
Punjab, needing a win to stay in contention, finished with eight wins and eight losses.
This result also meant Mumbai Indians are now through along with Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders. Two-time defending champion Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore remain in contention for the fourth spot.
Delhi Daredevils 145-4 in 18.2 overs (David Warner 79, Venugopal Rao 21 not out; Ryan Harris 2-19, Azhar Mahmood 2-23) def. Kings XI Punjab 141-8 (Siddharth Chitnis 38, Azhar Mahmood 36, Gurkeerat Singh 26; Morne Morkel 4-20, Umesh Yadav 3-29).