In the IPL, nobody knows how to throw away opportunities better than Delhi. Their batting line-up collapses without an indication and their bowlers start leaking runs while their fielders make you wonder whether you are watching an under-14 match.
The battle between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders was filled with such incidents. Losing the toss, Delhi batted beautifully in the first half of the innings. Sanju Samson was at his supreme best, displaying a wonderful collection of graceful and elegant strokes while Shreyas Iyer was a class act in itself.
Umesh Yadav sent back Samson in the 14th over and things took an ugly turn for the batting team. Their strong lower middle order crumbled and Delhi managed only 37 runs in their last six overs.
Even after losing the momentum, Delhi's high-quality bowling attack came back strongly. They prevented the flavour of the season, Sunil Narine, from creating havoc and tied down Gambhir as well.
After five overs, KKR‘s score was 36 for 1. Until that point, the game was in the balance and then came the turning point.
Misunderstanding between fielders results in dropping Uthappa
Kagiso Rabada is an impact bowler. His deliveries skid off the surface, he swings the ball, has pace and on top of all that, has a good young head on his shoulders.
In his first over, 10 runs were scored but one ball sneaked through Narine’s defence to dismantle his stumps whilst another one kicked off the surface at serious pace. Zaheer then brought him back in the sixth over to do the same. And the South African was almost successful.
Rabada banged the third ball of the over short at pace; that surprised Uthappa, resulting in a top edge. The ball went up in the Kolkata sky, swirled in the air for some time and came down exactly in between the two men stationed for the catch, who simply stared at each other to the delight of the batsman.
Sanju Samson and Amit Mishra were the two fielders and as the ball hovered in the air, both became nervous and lost their focus. In the end, neither of them actually tried catching the ball and as it landed safely, both looked shell shocked. Mishra, with a stern face, looked accusingly at Samson, who simply turned around and walked back to his position.
For a fielding team, nothing hurts more than watching a batsman whose catch has been put down taking the game away. And Delhi had to go through this agony.
After being put down, Uthappa changed gears. He scored boundaries off Rabada and Mishra and took on Morris in the eighth over looting 19 runs courtesy 2 sixes and one boundary.
Later, Pat Cummins was smashed for a six and a four while Mishra, the man who put down Uthappa, was hoicked for a six over long off.
The right-handed batsman produced the fifth fastest fifty of this season (24 balls) to effectively end the match and also a second consecutive 100-run partnership with Gambhir.
When the KKR batsman was finally dismissed in the 13th over, his individual score was 59 from 33 balls. Importantly KKR’s score was 117 and the team needed 44 more runs from 46 balls. The required run rate was below 6.
At the time of the dropped catch, Uthappa was on 10. Thus, he scored 49 runs from 30 balls thereafter leaving Delhi licking their wounds.