The Delhi Daredevils needed a special batting effort after a few woeful ones in IPL 2017, and they got it as the bright young things of Indian cricket, with a little bit of help from a couple of older heads, chased down a big total against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday.
Needing a win to stay alive in the race for the playoffs and to climb out of the bottom of the IPL 2017 points table, the Delhi Daredevils found their mojo with the bat, after SRH posted a solid total of 185, thanks to a late blitz from Yuvraj Singh.
The DD innings began the way it needed to with Sanju Samson and Karun Nair, captaining the side again in the absence of the injured Zaheer Khan, finding the fours and sixes with ease and making full use of the new ball coming onto the bat nicely.
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So, it was no surprise when it was a change of pace that brought about an end to the partnership, with Mohammed Siraj getting an off-cutter to do the trick as Samson (24, 19b, 2x4, 1x6) drove one straight to Shikhar Dhawan in the covers.
Karun, however, continued on nicely as DD hit 62 in the Powerplay overs. However, with the skipper staying aggressive, he was also going to give chances, and it came in the eighth over, when Karun spanked a knuckle ball from Siddarth Kaul straight to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at long-off, a couple of overs after the same fielder had dropped the same batsman.
The 39 (20b, 5x4, 2x6) was Karun's highest score in any format of the game since his triple hundred against England last year.
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DD, though, with two more young Indian batsmen at the crease – Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer – kept going at the required run rate of nine, which meant, with the final ten overs to go, the chase was under control, as DD needed a makeable 90.
Pant (34, 20b, 4x4, 1x6), after a sparkling innings, fell to a brilliant yorker from Siraj, but, all that did was allow Iyer to take over, with the right-hander spanking Yuvraj Singh for a couple of sixes, as SRH struggled to negotiate their fifth bowler, with Moises Henriques also going for plenty.
Thanks to that big over off Yuvraj, the equation came all the way down to 61 from 42, which in T20 cricket is easy peasy, especially when you have players of the calibre of Iyer (33, 25b, 1x4, 2x6), Corey Anderson (41 n.o., 24b, 2x4, 3x6), Chris Morris (15 n.o., 7b, 1x4, 1x6) and Angelo Mathews.
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And so it proved to be, with Mathews not even required.
The SRH innings was in three parts – a brilliant six overs with David Warner and Dhawan striking boundaries at ease, then a lull as wickets fell and the slowness of the wicket took hold and finally the last five overs flourish, courtesy Yuvraj.
Warner, coming off a ridiculous hundred against KKR in the last game, looked in great form again – once more that switch hit of his was on show – with Dhawan not taking too many balls to find his range either.
The two quickly raced to 53 in 5.1 overs, and with DD in desperate need of a wicket, they got the breakthrough via Mohammed Shami, who bowled the perfect yorker, which snuck below the bat of Warner (30, 21b, 4x4, 1x6) to thump into the stumps. It's a ball that Shami bowls quite well, but for some reason, doesn't use often enough.
SRH got 66 runs in the Powerplay, with Dhawan finishing the six overs off with a boundary through square-leg, but from there the DD fightback began.
From over number seven to 15, SRH only managed 48 runs – that's 48 runs from 54 balls – as DD pulled things back brilliantly, while also taking the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan (28, 17b, 4x4, 1x6), caught in the deep off Amit Mishra, and Kane Williamson (24, 24b, 1x4, 1x6), out off a really nice short delivery from Shami.
The final five overs, however, was all SRH as Yuvraj, who was happy to take his time and get the measure of the pitch, which he said was two-paced, took off in his own inimitable style.
There weren't too many sixes – Yuvraj only had one in his innings of 70 (41b, 11x4, 1x6) – but there were plenty of boundaries, with the left-hander, who was dropped by Samson when he was on just 29, finishing off wonderful fashion along with Moises Henriques as SRH got 71 runs in the final five.
IPL 2017: DD vs SRH scorecard:
Toss: DD, who chose to bowl.
SRH: 185/3 in 20 overs.
DD: 189/4 in 19.1 overs.
Result: DD won by six wickets with five balls to spare.
Bowling: DD: Jayant Yadav 4-0-26-0; Kagiso Rabada 4-0-59-0; Chris Morris 4-0-36-0; Mohammed Shami 4-0-36-2; Amit Mishra 4-0-23-1.
SRH: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-33-1; Mohammed Siraj 4-0-41-2; Siddarth Kaul 4-0-38-1; Moises Henriques 2.1-0-36-0; Rashid Khan 4-0-24-0; Yuvraj Singh 1-0-16-0.
Fall of wickets: SRH: 53/1, David Warner (5.2 overs); 75/2, Shikhar Dhawan (8.2 overs); 92/3, Kane Williamson (11.4 overs).
DD: 40/1, Sanju Samson (4.1 overs); 72/2, Karun Nair (7.4 overs); 109/3, Rishabh Pant (11.4 overs); 148/4, Shreyas Iyer (16 overs).