Centurion: Australian Adam Gilchrist blasted 85 off 35 balls to lead Deccan Chargers into the Indian Premier League final with a six-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils on Friday.
The Deccan captain reached his half-century off just 17 deliveries, an IPL record beating the previous mark of 21 balls set by Yusuf Pathan of the Rajasthan Royals last year.
Deccan were chasing 154 for victory and left-hander Gilchrist, opening the batting, smashed 10 fours and five sixes in his innings to help the underdogs recover from the early loss of Herschelle Gibbs for a duck in the second over.
He eventually fell to the leg spin of Amit Mishra the ball before the strategic timeout at the halfway mark.
With Deccan needing 52 more runs in 10 overs and seven wickets in hand, the outcome was obvious. Tirumalsetti Suman and Andrew Symonds both scored 24 as victory was completed in the 18th over.
Mishra was the one bowler to shine for Delhi, taking three for 19 in four overs.
Another Australian, Ryan Harris, had given Deccan an early advantage in the field, removing Delhi openers Gautam Gambhir and David Warner for ducks with the innings only an over old.
Virender Sehwag and Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan produced an impressive stand of 85 off 60 balls before Sehwag was trapped leg-before by Symonds for 39.
Dilshan pressed on and was finally run out for 65 off 50 deliveries in the final over. Four wickets fell for eight runs in the last seven balls to leave Delhi on 153 for eight.
Deccan will meet the winners of the second semi between Chennai Super Kings and Bangalore Royal Challengers in Sunday’s final.