In a campaign where little has gone their way so far, the bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils had very few positives to draw inspiration from ahead of their match against the Kolkata Knight Riders. One was their 1-0 record against the rival team this season, which was to be sullied with Kolkata registering an eight-wicket victory this time. The second one, about JP Duminy being the batsman with highest average in Season 7 so far, would remain intact.
Duminy was averaging a gravity defying 80 per match when he walked into bat after the fall of Murali Vijay’s wicket at the end of the ninth over. Delhi were 61/3 at that stage, scoring at under seven-an-over. By the end of the innings, Duminy’s average soared a further 13 runs to be 93.3. His team finished at a higher-than-expected 160/5 in 20 overs, a run-rate of exactly eight-an-over.
The innings gave yet another evidence of Duminy’s impact on his team’s batting performance this season. The problem, however, is that his influence is not being maximized by the team management. Duminy has made 280 runs in 8 matches, but of these he has returned unbeaten on five occasions. On Wednesday, the script didn’t change. At the end of the Delhi innings, Duminy was undefeated on 40. Twice has he scored a half century (67* and 52*). At other times, his scores have been 28*, 39, 19, 20*, 15. Clearly, he has come too late into a match to influence the result.
Giving Duminy just 11 overs when he is in such a form is akin to Carlo Ancelotti bringing a fit Ronaldo on the field in second half of a game that Real Madrid desperately needs to win. Make that both Ronaldo and Bale.
For another batsman who has been very impressive — an adjective that can’t be used for too many Delhi players this season — is Kedar Jadhav. He has been unbeaten in all four hits that he got, and gave the Delhi innings a real push towards the end with his quick-fire cameos.
He is yet to make an appearance on the highest average list as he is yet to get out in the tournament. But when he does perish, he will likely be the closest competitor that Duminy will have in that list. In all Jadhav has made 97 runs consuming only 57 balls.
On Wednesday, for the second match in a row, he was sent after Laxmi Shukla, a fine all rounder no doubt but with a decidedly inferior batting record across formats than Jadhav. In the four overs that Shukla scratched around on the field and got out, Delhi went from 85/4 in 11.5 overs to 105/5 in 15.5.
Out walked Jadhav and cut loose right away.
He began with a Viruvian cut behind backward point off Vinay Kumar for four before depositing the same bowler into the fourth tier of the stadium with a monumental hit straight back.
The left-handed Duminy too came to party soon after and the duo added 55 runs in 4.1 overs to take the home team to a respectable total. In the process, they papered over poor form of a few of their batsmen, most notably captain Kevin Pietersen (6 off 12 balls).
For any other team in the IPL, 160/5 would be eminently defendable, but not for this Delhi team whose bowlers have taken a mere 3.1 wickets per game in the tournament.
Openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa gave Kolkata a century stand for the second match in a row. Uthappa was trapped in front by Wayne Parnell for 47 (34 balls, 5×4, 1×6), by which time Kolkata needed only 55 more runs in 8.1 overs.
They had collapsed from an even better position in the last match against Rajasthan, but Gambhir, the only local lad in either team, stayed on and pretty much finished the job with a 55-ball 69.