Jayawardene hits 56 not out as Delhi beat Punjab by five wickets to become the first team to qualify for the playoffs.
Mahela Jayawardene's scored a match-winning 56 to help Delhi Daredevils beat Kings XI Punjab in the 64th match of the Indian Premier League at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Delhi managed to reach the target with an over to spare as they consolidated their position at the top of the table with 20 points and become the first team to seal the playoff berth.
Parvinder Awana (3 for 22) was exceptional with the ball for visitors, especially early on, when they had slumped to 37 for 4, but Naman Ojha (34 off 29) and Irfan Pathan (19 off 10) provided enough support to help Jayawardene confirm Delhi's place in the last four.
This was after the DD top-order failed once again as both Virender Sehwag (9) and David Warner (14) promised a lot of fireworks as 21 runs came off the first two overs but Praveen Kumar gave Punjab early breakthrough in the third over when he dismissed David Warner (14). But Praveen Kumar gave Punjab breakthrough in the third over when he dismissed David Warner.
Soon Awana also struck with the very first ball to dismiss Sehwag in the fourth over as the hosts were reduced to 28 for 2. Then Awana struck twice in the sixth over to dismiss Ross Taylor (0) and Venugopal Rao (7). Awana's effort rocked Delhi run chase. But the gritty Sri Lankan batsman consolidated Delhi's innings as he added 58 runs for the fifth wicket with Naman Ojha (34).
Piyush Chawla dismissed Naman Ojha in the the fourteenth over to reduce Delhi to 95 for 5. But Jayawardene and Pathan added 45 runs for the sixth wicket to help the home team clinch a superb victory.
Earlier, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron produced a fantastic bowling effort for Delhi as they restricted Punjab to a modest 138 for 8. Yadav (3 for 21) and Aaron (2 for 19) shared five wickets between them, while the fielders took some sharp catches as well as inflicting two run-outs.
Punjab's skipper David Hussey top-scored for the visitors with an unbeaten 40 off 35 balls, but he lacked any real support from his teammates. There were no significant partnership as Hussey was the only batsmen trying to take the attack back to the opposition.
Opting to bat first, Punjab were dealt an early blow after Shaun Marsh fell in the fourth over for 13. He tried to flick Aaron on the leg side and instead sent a fine edge to wicketkeeper Naman Ojha. Mandeep Singh (21) hit a few streaky boundaries but he soon fell to Aaron as he was smartly caught by Sehwag.
Punjab were then dealt another blow as Nitin Saini (15) took a long walk back to the pavilion as he edged a ball that moved away from Yadav to Sehwag at first slip. Punjab were struggling at 54 for 3 at this stage. David Miller (4) was then run out by a Pawan Negi direct hit to leave Punjab on 63 for 4 at the halfway stage.
Hussey and Azhar Mahmood (9) tried to do a repair job, but all went in vain as Umesh send back Mahmood courtesy of a stunning catch at wide long-off by Irfan Pathan. Last match's hero Gurkeerat Singh Ahluwalia (8) hit two boundaries but then a classical left-arm spinner's delivery from Negi got better of him. Piyush Chawla (10) helped the Kings past 100 in a 29-run stand with Hussey, but after he fell, the visitors battled and eventually set 139 for victory.