Sehwag’s blunder: Dropping Morkel cost Delhi a final berth in IPL-5

Fans and experts came for an equal shock when they heard Delhi Daredevils decision about dropping Morne Morkel from the crucial IPL paly off match, which was a virtual semi-final for both Delhi and Chennai.

“Morne Morkel, IPL-5’s highest wicket-taker, was in great spirits on Friday morning and appeared eager to play the Eliminator against Chennai. Eight hours later, much to everyone’s surprise, Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag announced at the toss that the paceman with the Purple Cap wouldn’t be playing the game. No one could believe Delhi had actually taken such a decision,” writes The Times Of India, adding that given the fact that Irfan Pathan was also not playing, what caused further controversy was the inclusion of Sunny Gupta, a little-known off-break bowler who plays for Tamil Nadu.

Naturally, the Chennai Super Kings batsmen lapped up the offering. Without Morne, Delhi didn’t have any penetration in the attack and all Murali Vijay & Co had to do was go on the front foot and hit through the line.  Chennai ended with the highest total of this season: 222/5. Gupta gave away 47 from three overs, and even Varun Aaron ended with unflattering figures of 4-0-63-2, the most any bowler has conceded in the short history of the event.

Meanwhile Hindustan Times writes that when the lineup for the Delhi Daredevils’ second qualifier was announced on Friday, the absence of two names evoked surprise for different reasons. “Delhi left out their leading wicket-taker, Morne Morkel, for Andre Russell, who had played just three matches all season. The omission of Irfan Pathan was even more puzzling. On the eve of the match it had been learnt that he had split the webbing of his finger after an incident in their first qualifier, but when DD mentor TA Sekar was asked about his fitness, he said Irfan was 100% fit and would feature in the match.”

In Irfan's place, DD handed an IPL debut to Tamil Nadu offspinner Sunny Gupta. Sehwag even handed the new ball to Gupta. He was smashed for fours off his first two deliveries and never recovered from the thrashing to record figures of 0/47 off his three overs. Russell recorded better figures, 0/30 off his allotted overs, but one wonders how much Morkel could have troubled the rampaging CSK batsmen,” adds HT.