NEW DELHI, APRIL 23: David Warner praised fellow opener Virender Sehwag and the changed Feroz Shah Kotla pitch as his man-of-the-match performance saw Delhi Daredevils set an imposing target of 232 and beat Kings XI Punjab by 29 runs.
The explosive openers put on 146 runs to give Delhi a dream start after being put into bat, and the partnership was the main driving force as Delhi made the third-highest score in IPL history. Having been defeated in three games till now, Warner said not losing early wickets was crucial in this match. “We didn’t lose any wickets in the first six overs, so I didn’t have to stabilize the innings. In the last couple of knocks, I’ve had to hang in there and give myself a bit more time. Today I was able to play freely. It came off and I got my fifty off not too many balls, which is ideal. It’s fantastic that Viru and I can put up a hundred on the board without losing a wicket. It just shows that if both of us fire, we’re going to be hard to stop.”
Sehwag got 77 off 35 balls while Warner took 48 balls to make the same score, and the Australian commented: “I think Viru doesn’t like being behind, and as he showed today, he kept up and got ahead of me there! It’s one of those things – When he’s on, he’s on, and the crowd gets behind him. It was fantastic to watch from the other end.”
In a game in which over 400 runs were scored overall (Punjab made 202/6 in 20 overs), it is obvious the bowlers found the going tough! Warner admitted that there was room for improvement, but felt the team had shown their potential. “It was the first time we batted on this wicket, and the first time the bowlers bowled on it. But thankfully we got 230 on the board and the bowlers had something to aim at,” said the 24-year-old. “(Morne) Morkel was bowling with two slips and batsmen were missing the ball... It happened on many occasions. We had to adjust our lines, which we didn’t execute very well. But I’m sure our bowling coach Eric Simmons will show the guys what they have to do to take early wickets, which they can do.”
The much-maligned Kotla track was also defended by Warner. “The wicket was fantastic. The ball came on to the bat perfectly, and if you hit the gaps, it went for four. We had trained on the outside wickets throughout the week, so we knew what to expect. A few days ago, our coach (Greg Shipperd) wanted to check the bounce on the main wicket. The ball didn't bounce at that time. So it was a fantastic effort by the curators to produce a wicket like that, and it just shows that we can now have high-scoring games at Kotla.”
Warner slammed seven fours and four sixes on his way to strengthening his position as Delhi’s top-scorer in this season so far. (He has 229 runs in 5 matches at a strike rate of 133.91.) It was also his third half-century of the season, but the first in a winning cause. The talented left-hander though, was modest when asked about his ability to go aerial with ease. “It’s in your mind. You have to back yourself to go the distance. I just played my normal strokes, fortunately tonight it paid off.”