Synopsis: David Warner throws down the gauntlet. But Delhi Daredevils bounce back magnificently to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to 146. Quinton de Kock falls prey to an umpiring howler, but young turks, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant, pair up to secure victory
Warner throws down gauntlet
Jayant Yadav was one of the four changes Delhi made for this game. His inclusion, in place of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, ostensibly aimed at countering two left-handed Hyderabad openers. Little wonder then that off-spinner Yadav opened the bowling after JP Duminy, standing in for an injured Zaheer Khan, won the toss and decided to field. The youngster made a steady start before Warner threw down the gauntlet. A flat-batted punch over the bowler’s head had a touch of contempt. He followed it up with a superbly-struck four and a brilliantly-timed six. It was exhilarating stuff.
In fact, Warner got going in the previous over, hitting Mohammed Shami for back-to-back boundaries. Duminy came and was hammered past long-off. Another four off Yadav took him to 46 off 30 balls. The Hyderabad captain completed 3,000 IPL runs in the process and became only the second player after Chris Gayle to score 500-plus in three consecutive IPL seasons. More importantly, he was threatening to take the game away from the opposition. But Yadav made one turn sharply from the leg and breached Warner’s defence. His dismissal prompted a momentum shift.
Daredevils bounce back
You expect a team to post an imposing total after being 80/1 at the halfway stage. Shikhar Dhawan had dropped anchor at one end and Kane Williamson was his partner. Hyderabad had some serious hitters to follow. But they could manage only 66 runs in the second half of the innings, losing seven wickets. The excellent Chris Morris started the turnaround for Delhi. The second ball of the 12th over was bowled at 149kph, but Morris had missed his line and the umpire called a wide down the leg side. The delivery, however, had a hint of reverse swing, enough to encourage the bowler.
Amit Mishra was operating from the other end and he accounted for Dhawan with a seam-up delivery. The leggie had been using it as a surprise weapon and he managed to get rid of Yuvraj Singh as well. The latter top-edged the slider down the leg and Pant made good adjustments to take the catch, diving in front. Two balls later, Shami removed Moises Henriques with the one that reversed late and Delhi had their opponents stuttering. Morris and Nathan Coulter-Nile didn’t let it slip in the final overs. The Australian quick had Deepak Hooda out hit wicket. Morris cleaned up Williamson with a low full-toss that once again moved late. He then ran about 18 yards in his follow through and kicked the ball on to the stumps with his right foot to catch Bhuvneshwar Kumar short of his ground.
Pressure told on Naman Ojha. He hit a juicy full-toss from Coulter-Nile in the final over straight to Samson at deep square leg. Hyderabad finished at 146/8. Morris and Coulter-Nile contributed immensely with the figures of 1/19 and 2/25 respectively as their team rallied. Mishra took 2/19 in three overs. Shami, too, made a comeback after early blip.
Hyderabad had successfully defended 137 in their last game. They had the seam-bowling wherewithal to test Delhi’s nerves. From the visitors’ point of view, Quinton de Kock was the key and the Saffer had been striking the ball very well. He tore into Ashish Nehra and went unhindered even after Mayank Agarwal’s dismissal. Karun Nair took a couple of fours off Barinder Sran before de Kock turned his attention to the left-arm medium pacer. 74/1 after nine overs, Delhi had been cruising.
Henriques cleaned up Nair with a yorker but de Kock’s presence offered assurance. In the fifth ball of that over, Henriques bowled a bouncer. De Kock tried an upper cut but missed. A sound emanated from the batsman losing his helmet and the bowler stretched his appeal very far. Ojha joined as an afterthought. Umpire Marais Erasmus was initially unmoved, but suddenly raised his finger to de Kock’s disbelief. There was daylight between bat and ball.
The young turks
De Kock’s departure was a serious blow. Without Sam Billings and Carlos Brathwaite, Delhi were a little short on batting depth. Two young batsmen, however, paired up to secure a seven-wicket win with 11 balls to spare. Pant is a kid of 18 and Samson three years his senior. Together they put on 72 runs (8.2 overs) for the fourth wicket to make things comfortable in the end. Pant was the aggressor with two fours and three sixes. He spectacularly laid into the miserly Mustafizur Rahman. Samson’s batting was more cultured. A back foot cover drive off Henriques bordered on the classical. The dropped catch didn’t affect his composure. The two youngsters ran like hare to put pressure on the fielders and take the team home.