Sat, Oct 27, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Pietersen’s 50 cannot save Daredevils from defeat

AFP, DURBAN, South Africa

Kevin Pietersen of the Delhi Daredevils, left, bats in their Champions League Twenty20 match against the Highveld Lions on Thursday at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban, South Africa.

Photo: AFP

Recalled England batsman Kevin Pietersen finally clicked at the Champions League Twenty20 tournament on Thursday, but could not prevent the Delhi Daredevils making a semi-finals exit.

Pietersen struck 50 off 44 balls against the South African Highveld Lions at a cold and windy Kingsmead after meager contributions of 14 and nine in previous innings at the rain-hit event.

Lions made 139-5 after being put in to bat and Delhi responded with 117-9 after a seven-runs-an-over chase fell behind the required run rate after just six overs and never caught up.

While Pietersen remained at the crease there was a slim hope but that disappeared after 16.1 overs when he top-edged a ball to short fine leg and wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile scampered to take the catch.

Pietersen struck three fours and a six and now turns his attention to a tour of India by England, ending a two-month exile after he criticized his teammates in text messages to South African opponents during a Test series.

“Apologies to all the @DelhiDaredevils fans! We should have done better today! On a more positive note — I’ll be in India Sunday ... Can’t wait!” tweeted Pietersen after the match.

Delhi sprang a selection surprise by omitting Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene and introducing Australian David Warner, who was the second highest scorer with 21, while South African tail-ender Morne Morkel made 18 not out.

Chris Morris (2-7), Aaron Phangiso (2-18) and Australian Dirk Nannes (2-34) were the pick of the bowlers for the Lions, who will have home ground advantage tomorrow in the final against the Sydney Sixers or the Centurion-based Titans.

Opener Gulam Bodi (50), man-of-the-match Neil McKenzie (46 not out) and skipper Alviro Petersen (24) were the best of the Lions’ batsmen while Umesh Yadav (2-20) offered most in the Delhi attack.

Daredevils were the only Indian Premier League franchise to qualify for the semi-finals from the 10-team mini-league phase with defending champions the Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders flopping.

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