Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag became the first batsman to hit five consecutive Twenty20 half-centuries when he scored 73 in the Delhi Daredevils’ six-wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.
Sehwag smashed a six and 12 fours in 38 balls as Delhi reached 144-4 in 15.2 overs, after Rajasthan had scored 141-6 at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen, playing his last game before returning home for the Test series against the West Indies, chipped in with 36.
Rajasthan faltered after a steady 71-run stand between Rahul Dravid (57) and Ajinkya Rahane (42).
Delhi left-arm spinner Pawan Negi took 4-18, including key batsmen Brad Hodge, Shane Watson and Rahane.
Delhi increased their lead in the standings, having recorded eight wins from 10 games, two more than the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Rajasthan Royals have four wins from 10.
At the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, blistering half-centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Cameron White helped the Deccan Chargers score a 13-run win against the Pune Warriors.
Sangakkara scored 82 off 52 deliveries with two sixes and 10 fours, while White hit 74 off 45 with four sixes and four fours as Deccan amassed 186-4 on a good batting pitch. Pune scored 173-5 in reply.
Deccan were struggling at 23-2 in the fifth over when Sangakkara and White came together to produce the team’s best stand for any wicket this season, a 157-run partnership that started steadily before gathering pace.
The pair added 49 runs off 11 balls during the 18th and 19th overs before Wayne Parnell bowled a tight last over, in which he conceded only six runs, to limit the damage.
Sangakkara smashed off-spinner Marlon Samuels for 19 runs in an over that included four fours, and struck Ashish Nehra for 24 with two sixes and two fours in the penultimate over. He was then bowled off the last ball of that over from Nehra.
White bludgeoned three consecutive sixes as part-time seamer Sourav Ganguly went for 25 in the 18th over. He was out in the last over from Parnell as he holed out to long-off.
For Pune, Australian allrounder Steven Smith slammed an unbeaten 47 to keep the team in contention, after captain Sourav Ganguly (45) and Michael Clarke (41) had done the initial hard work.
Smith hit two sixes and three fours off 27 balls, but with 23 needed off the last over, it was always going to be only an outside chance of a win for the Ganguly-led team.
Bottom-place Deccan’s only previous win also came against Pune and they now have two wins from nine outings, with six losses and a no-result.
Pune have four wins and six losses from 10 outings.