Delhi Daredevils won the 'Battle of Minnows' as they defeated Pune Warriors by 15 runs in the Pepsi Indian Premier League here today.
Needing 165 to win, Warriors could manage only 149 for four despite a 76-run opening stand between Aaron Finch (37) and Robin Uthappa (37) at the newly built swanky Shahid Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium.
This was Daredevils' second win in nine matches and they climbed a place higher from their usual last spot to be placed eighth in the nine-team table. The win also technically kept them in the hunt for a place in the knock-outs.
The Warriors, who have had an equally disastrous campaign, now languish at the bottom after their seventh defeat.
Umesh Yadav bowled a brilliant 18th over in which he dismissed Yuvraj Singh (31) and Luke Wright (19), giving away just two runs. The over turned out to be the 'Game-Changer' as Warriors lost out despite two half-century partnerships.
Finch and Uthappa matched each other stroke for stroke as the Daredevils pace quartet of Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Ashish Nehra and Morne Morkel provided with at least one 'boundary-ball' per over.
Not only did the two burly openers hit a flurry of fours but shoddy fielding helped them to take the ones and twos liberally.
The 50 came off 6.3 overs without much difficulty. The sense of purpose seemed to be lacking in Delhi bowlers as none of them bowled well enough to get a breakthrough.
If Umesh drifted on the pads, Pathan lack of pace became his undoing. Similarly, for Morkel, the batsmen used his extra pace while Nehra gave too much width.
At the halfway stage, Warriors had knocked off 75 runs before Pathan provided with twin strikes in the 11th over.
The first one was more of a fielder's wicket as Pathan bowled a poor delivery on Uthappa's pads and the Coorgi flicked it only to find Unmukt Chand taking a fine catch at deep backward square leg. Uthappa scored 37 off 33 balls with four boundaries.
Finch (37 of 33 balls) got a faint edge down leg-side as Kedar Jadhav went up immediately and was joined by Pathan. The appeal went in favour of the bowler while Finch looked unhappy.
Yuvraj and Wright did not take much time to settle down with the former playing a lovely cover drive to announce his arrival. The duo added 50 runs in only six overs before both got out in quick succession to change the course of the match.
Earlier, David Warner assaulted the Pune Warriors bowlers in a brutal fashion as Delhi Daredevils posted a competitive 164 for five.
Warner blasted his way to an unbeaten 25-ball 51 as he saved the Daredevils from what could have been another woeful batting performance.
Credit should also be given to Kedar Jadhav (25), who played the role of second fiddle to Warner to perfection, as the duo added 63 runs in only 5.5 overs to put home team on a pedestal. Jadhav hit two sixes in his 19-ball knock.
Warner hit four boundaries and four huge sixes with 21 runs coming off the penultimate over bowled by Kane Richardson. In fact, three of his four sixes were hit off Richardson who bowled the 'right length' to be smashed over the ropes. The final five overs yielded 63 runs with 96 runs coming off the back 10.
Warner, who is Daredevils' highest scorer in the league by a distance, scored his third half century despite coming in to bat at number four.
Put in to bat, Daredevils captain Mahela Jayawardene (12) got bogged down and was holed out by Luke Wright off Ashoke Dinda's bowling but Virender Sehwag was watchful during the Powerplay overs before he opened up. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was hit for a straight six and a boundary and he repeated with another pulled six off a slow bouncer from Luke Wright.
Just when it looked that the veteran opener is getting into the groove for a big score, Sehwag failed to read a slow bouncer from Dinda as he committed early to a pull shot only to be caught by Robin Uthappa behind the stumps. Sehwag made 29 off 26 balls with two boundaries and a couple of sixes and was out in the 10th over.
Unmukt Chand (17), drafted in place of Manprit Juneja, did precious little to help his case. During his 19-ball stay, he looked scratchy and failed to find the gaps on most occasions.