Chennai, May 26: After Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag won the toss in Chennai in Qualifier 2 on Friday night, it came as a shocker to all when he announced that Morne Morkel was omitted from the Playing XI.
How could Delhi drop their premier fast bowler, who is on top of the bowlers' pile this season. The Purple Cap holder, with 25 wickets, would have been stunned to hear that piece of news.
On a night full of inexplicable decisions, Delhi finally paid the price and tumbled out. If Morkel's omission was not enough, Sehwag, after winning the toss, opted to field. The same mistake was done by Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh against the same opposition, Chennai Super Kings, in Eliminator.
In a crunch game, it is always better to put the runs on the board. The pressure of chasing can pull any batting line-up down. Same thing happened to Delhi. They boasted the best batting riches in the tournament, but when the game ended, they were thrashed by the worst margin in IPL 5, by 86 runs.
With a mountain of runs to scale down, Delhi made another tactical error. This time, Sehwag chose to not open the batting.
If at all there was one batsman who could have put the fear in the rival camp, it was Sehwag. By not facing the new ball, he straight away handed the advantage to Chennai.
Sehwag did admit that Morkel was missed. “Unluckily, Irfan (Pathan) got injured so we had to change the combination,” Sehwag said in is post-match comments. “It was difficult to pick four foreigners, but we backed (Andre) Russell to do the job. But yes we missed Morne Morkel.”
Delhi, who topped the table after the league, preferred a tyro in a big game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. For whole season, offspinner Sunny Gupta was relegated to carrying drinks and warming the benches. But suddenly he was asked to play in a knockout match.
The 23-year-old Gupta was also handed an uphill task of bowling the first over of this high-pressure encounter. And how did he responded to that pressure? He was attacked from the first ball, as centurion Murali Vijay hit him for a boundary. That was the beginning of Chennai domination. That shot really set the ball rolling for Chennai's victory.
Gupta did not complete his quota of four overs and in his three, was hammered for 47 runs. Sehwag had to bowl as cover for Gupta's one over and he too was not spared. The skipper was taken for 21 runs.
Sehwag, batting at number three, made just one run while David Warner disappeared from the middle after mere three runs.
On a night full of tactical errors by Delhi, Chennai cashed in and stormed into their third final in a row and fourth overall. In spite of Delhi's baffling decisions, one cannot take away the breathtaking century of right-handed Vijay.
On their biggest night of the tournament, Delhi chose not to turn up.