Raipur: The IPL bandwagon came to the capital of the state of Chhattisgarh in central India, Raipur, and the venue allotted to Delhi Daredevils as their home away from home provided them the platform for just their second win of the season. On its IPL debut, the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium threw up an engaging match that ended with Delhi beating Pune Warriors by 15 runs to keep alive their hopes of staying in the tournament.
For the second time in the day the captain who opted to field ended up ruing his decision. Aaron Finch backed his bowlers on a surface neither he nor his opposite number Mahela Jayawardene was too certain off, and when they had Delhi at 96 for 4 in the 14th over it looked like Finch's call would play off. But 68 runs came in the remaining 35 balls of the innings with David Warner galloping to the second-quickest fifty of the season as Delhi finished on 164 for 5.
Warner came to the crease at No. 4 after Jayawardene (12) and Virender Sehwag (28) had fallen when playing half-hearted shots off Ashok Dinda, and looked on as Unmukt Chand (17) nicked Rahul Sharma to Robin Uthappa two balls after Sehwag's wicket. Warner added 28 with Ben Rohrer (13) but when his fellow Australian gave Uthappa his third catch of the innings, Pune were on top.
Warner had opened up shortly before Rohrer's exit, pulling and slogging Sharma for ten runs in two balls. He backed himself to choose which balls to hit, and in the midst of some smart running pulled the debutant Kane Richardson for six and collected three fours off Dinda's third over. Richardson was taken for 21 in the penultimate over: Kedar Jadhav went straight down the ground for six and Warner gathered two maximums by clearing the front leg and swinging. Jadhav fell for 25 in the final over which cost 13 with Warner able to face just a solitary delivery, but his unbeaten 51 off 25 had proved massive.
In pursuit of a challenging target, Pune were given a strong start from Uthappa and Finch who managed their fourth half-century stand. Uthappa was the early aggressor as 43 came off the Powerplay, and then after a sedate start Finch got three fours off Irfan Pathan's second over. The pair ran well between the wickets to ensure the asking rate remained in striking distance and after ten overs Pune were 75 for 0, needing 90 off the last ten.
From here, Pune lost their way as Irfan and Umesh Yadav both struck telling blows. Irfan, after a maiden and a 15-run over, sent back both openers caught down the leg side in the 11th over, though replays showed Finch did not get bat on ball. Yuvraj Singh (31) and Luke Wright (19) put on 50 in 6.3 overs but fell during an excellent 18th over from Yadav: Wright, after two dots, lobbed a slower ball to Warner at long-off and on the final delivery Yuvraj top-edged a bouncer to deep square leg.
Entrusted with defending 28 runs, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem conceded four and six to Steven Smith as Delhi held on to clinch victory.