Daredevils through to final four

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The Delhi Daredevils booked their berth in the play-off stage of the 2012 Indian Premier League thanks to a tidy enough victory of the Kings XI Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday.

The Delhi Daredevils booked their berth in the play-off stage of the 2012 Indian Premier League thanks to a tidy enough victory of the Kings XI Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

Tuesday's five-wicket win saw the Delhi franchise increase their lead in the nine-team standings to 20 points and all but knocked the Punjab outfit of contention completely.

The Daredevils' success was built on the back of a solid display from their bowling attack. Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav, in particular, came to the party. The Indian seamers shared five wickets and conceded just 40 runs from their combined eight overs.

The Kings XI had very little to show for their effort with the bat and, were it not for captain David Hussey's unbeaten 40, the opposition's pursuit would have been all the more easier.

The home side's pursuit didn't enjoy a fluid start, though. The early departures of Virender Sehwag and David Warner brought initial worry, after which Venugopal Rao's failure and Ross Taylor's meant marginal alarm.

Mahela Jayawardene (56 not out) and Naman Ojha (34), however, restored the faith. Punjab, meanwhile, didn't do themselves any favours in the field. Hussey, who let Sehwag off the hook and Piyush Chawla, who afforded Ojha a lifeline, each dropped an easy catch. Had they been held, the nature of the outcome surely would have read a lot tighter, if not entirely overturned.

What proved to be the penultimate over of the match was a telling aspect of the Kings XI Punjab's failure. Parvinder Awana, having conceded just seven runs in his first three overs, witnessed 15 travel from his last.

Azhar Mahmood, with very little left in the tank, then copped three boundaries on the trot at the hands of half-centurion Jayawardene as Delhi sealed the deal with six deliveries to spare.

Yadav was named Man of the Match for his figures of three for 21. The rest of the tournament will see the Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals to battle it out for the remaining three play-off spots, while the Kings XI Punjab sport a mere outside, calculated chance of graduating to the final four.

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