Skipper Virender Sehwag smashed 119 off just 56 balls in a stunning counterattack, as Delhi Daredevils snatched a four-wicket victory over Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
In another match, a fine half-century by Eoin Morgan went in vain as hosts Kochi pulled off a 17-run upset win over Kolkata Knight Riders to spice up the race for the playoffs.
Chasing 176, Delhi were reeling at 86-4, but Sehwag whacked six sixes and 13 fours on way to his maiden Twenty20 century to single-handedly fashion a thrilling win for his struggling side at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.
The victory, Delhi’s fourth from 10 games, kept alive their chances of progressing to the knockouts, while Deccan slipped to eighth in the points table.
A sloppy Delhi earlier allowed Deccan to pile up 175-5 after winning the toss and electing to field.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara (44) and Shikhar Dhawan had chances dropped, while JP Duminy (55) and Daniel Christian would have been dismissed in the space of three balls had Yogesh Nagar not over-stepped twice in the 15th over.
In Kochi, Kolkata were cruising at 69-0 chasing 157, but Raiphi Gomez grabbed two wickets in two balls and Vinay Kumar sent back Morgan (66) and Yusuf Pathan in the 19th over to restrict the visitors to 139-7.
The victory moved Kochi to fifth in the points table and brought them back into contention for a place in the playoffs, while Kolkata remained in second place with 12 points.
England’s Morgan impressed the most among the Kolkata batsmen, hitting eight fours and two sixes in his 51-ball knock after Jacques Kallis made 45 opening the innings.
Kolkata paceman Jaidev Unadkat struck a double blow after skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to field, dismissing opener Brendon McCullum (one) and Parthiv Patel (21) inside the first six overs.
Coming in to bat at No. 4, skipper Mahela Jayawardene (55) rebuilt the innings in the company of Australia’s Michael Klinger (29) with a 51-run stand for the third wicket.