It was a much-awaited debut. Kevin Pietersen's first game as a freelance cricketer didn't quite go to script, as his team Delhi Daredevils went down to the Sunrisers Hyderabad by four runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
For the Sunrisers, their big-hitting Australian import Aaron Finch finally came to the party and his unbeaten 53-ball 88 took them to a competitive 184/1. His compatriot, David Warner (58, 45b, 3x4, 3x6), played the perfect supporting role as the duo stitched together a 128-run partnership after skipper Shikhar Dhawan departed for a well-made 33 (22b, 5x4, 1x6).
The Daredevils started off with much promise. South African Quinton de Kock, playing his first match this season, and Murali Vijay mixed caution with aggression and raced to 99 in the 12th over. However, they both went in quick succession to put the brakes on the Daredevils' march.
Pietersen, coming in at No. 3 on the back of a finger injury, played a very unlike KP innings, his 16 coming off 17 deliveries. Dinesh Karthik (15, 14b, 1x4) at the other end too didn't help the momentum and they seemed to have lost the plot in the middle overs.
And just as Pietersen looked like cutting lose, Dale Steyn struck, removing both Karthik and Pietersen in the 17th over as the Sunrisers sniffed a victory.
The in-form JP Duminy (20*, 7b, 1x4, 2x6 ) and Manoj Tiway (23*, 13b, 2x4, 1x6) tried to give the final flourish but they could only take the game to the final ball.
The win gave the Sunrisers their first points of the season, and they also jumped above the Daredevils in the points table, who have just two points from four games.