Kevin Pietersen failed to fire in his first match for Delhi Daredevils as Sunrisers Hyderabad rode on a brilliant batting show by Aaron Finch and David Warner to notch up a narrow four-run win in an IPL match on Friday.
Electing to bat, Hyderabad scored a formidable 184 for one with Aaron (88) and Warner (58) stitching a 128-run stand for the unconquered second wicket and then restricted Delhi to 180 for four to record their first win of the season at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Chasing a stiff target of 185 for a win, Delhi were on course at 86 for no loss at the end of first 10 overs but ran out of steam once openers Quinton de Kock (48) and Murali Vijay (52) were out in successive overs, 12th and 13th respectively.
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J P Duminy (20 off 7 balls) and Manoj Tiway (23 off 13 balls) made a last ditched effort but in vain. Their valiant efforts took the game down to the wire but the asking rate had gone too high for the duo to take their side to victory.
Daredevils captain Pietersen, who made it to the playing eleven after recovering from a finger injury, struggled in his first match this season as he looked rusty and tentative, before falling for 16 in the 17th over.
Coming out to bat at number three in the 12th over at the fall of de Kock’s wicket, Pietersen, who was bought this by Delhi for a whopping Rs 9 crores, took four balls to open his account and then could not hit a boundary for 13 deliveries when the team needed them to bring down the asking rate.
By the time, he opened up with a six off Darren Sammy in the penultimate ball of the 16th over, the asking rate has shot up to over 14 runs.
In fact, Delhi lost momentum in the five overs between 12th and 16th when Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik (15) were batting. Both fell in successive balls in the 17th over off the bowling of fast bowler Dale Steyn.
Delhi needed 49 from the last three overs and Tiwary and Duminy hit a flurry of fours and sixes to give themselves a chance. Delhi needed 20 runs from the final over but Duminy and Tiwary could score only 15 to lose the match by four runs.
For Hyderabad, Steyn took two wickets for 33 runs while Karn Sharma and Darren Sammy got one apiece.
Earlier, Finch and Warner broke through the shackles with facile unbeaten fifties as Hyderabad posted an impressive 184 for one.
Hyderabad were stifled in the first half of the match before Finch and Warner put up an 128-run partnership to infuse life into their team’s effort which looked ordinary to start with.
Delhi, boosted by the return of their regular captain Kevin Pietersen, put up a decent performance with the ball in the first 10 overs with spinner Shahbaz Nadeem producing economical figures of 4-0-24-1.
However, Finch and Warner broke through following the dismissal of Hyderabad skipper Shikhar Dawan (33) to steer the team to a formidable total.
The Australian pair put together an unbroken second wicket stand, which came off 82 deliveries.
Finch was the more destructive of the two, smacking Jaydev Unadkat for 18 runs in just four deliveries of the 18th over, which yielded 21 in all. Unadkat was, in fact, the most expensive Delhi bowler, conceding 43 runs in his four barren overs.
In fact, barring Nadeem, all of Delhi’s bowlers came in for severe thrashing with strike pacer Mohammed Shami ending up with figures of 0/36 in his four overs.
Dhawan and Finch gave Hyderabad a steady start by collecting 56 runs for the first wicket. Even though the pace of scoring was not too high but it set the platform for Finch and Warner to go on a rampage.
While Finch struck eight fours and four sixes, Warner smashed three boundaries and an equal number of hits over the fence.