The inexperience in the batting unit of the Delhi Daredevils continued to haunt them as they slumped to their fifth successive defeat in the tenth edition of the tournament against the Kings XI Punjab at Mohali.
The batting department has been the weak link for the Delhi side and they continued to struggle on a slightly slow surface on offer at Mohali. The Daredevils needed something special from their batting unit in order to get back to winning ways but the youngsters failed to perform under pressure which led to their downfall.
The skipper of the Kings XI Punjab, Glenn Maxwell won the toss and elected to field first, giving his bowlers first use of the fresh wicket on offer at the IS Bindra Stadium. The bowling unit did not let their skipper down as they dismantled the Daredevils for their lowest score in the history of the Indian Premier League, 67. Sandeep Sharma, the right arm medium pacer wrecked the top order of the Daredevils and his crucial spell upfront is the SK Turning Point of the match.
The 23-year-old did not feature in their last home game against the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad as the management felt he needed a break in order to rejuvenate and perform in a much-improved manner. The move yielded huge dividends as the young sensation produced one of his best bowling performances in the shortest format of the game.
Nobody knows the conditions and the 22 yards of the stadium better than Sandeep Sharma. Having played all his domestic cricket for Punjab at this venue, the youngster made optimum use of the dry surface on offer to bamboozle the opposition.
The youngster displayed skills of the highest standards with his ability to swing the ball as he troubled the batsmen with his probing line and length. The stand-out feature of his bowling performance was the fact that he consistently made the batsmen play which enabled him to induce a false shot.
The carnage started in the very first over of the match as he scalped the big wicket of Sam Billings for a duck. The England opener was included in the side at the expense of Pat Cummins, to bolster the batting department but failed to perform as he nicked an incoming delivery to Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps.
With the ball coming in, Billings was guilty of trying to run it down for a single to third man with an angled bat, only managing to get a faint nick through to the keeper. The wicket exposed the inexperience in the middle order for the Daredevils as they failed to recover from this early loss.
The local boy followed it up with the wicket of in-form Sanju Samson in his very next over. Samson has been the most consistent performers for the Delhi outfit in this edition of the tournament and his wicket early on in the innings was huge as he is the anchor of the Delhi batting line-up. The slow nature of the wicket resulted in his undoing as he tried to play a pick up shot to midwicket, only managing to get a leading edge for a simple catch to Mohit Sharma at mid off.
Just as the Delhi unit were recovering from the early jitters of being two down for just 7 runs on the board, Sharma produced a moment of magic on the last ball of the fifth over to get rid of the exciting Shreyas Iyer. A tentative push from Iyer to a ball pitched on off stump resulted in it going slightly up in the air and Sharma produced one of the best catches of the tournament as he plunged into the air with his left hand, managing to hold on to a sensational catch in his follow through.
The three quick wickets within the powerplay dented the Daredevils and they failed to build any substantial partnership thereafter, resulting in an embarrassing performance for them with the bat.
The young quick returned in the middle overs to pick up his fourth wicket of the evening as he accounted for Kagiso Rabada for 11. The right arm medium pacer returned with his best Indian Premier League figures of four for 20 in his quota of overs to set up the match in the favour of the home team.