Raipur hosted its first match of this year’s IPL and Delhi Daredevils have been lucky at this second home ground. They have had a good record here but the only team they have lost to on this venue is Sunrisers Hyderabad. They were the opponents today and the match was a crucial one. If Delhi could win this one they would still be in contention for the playoffs else the next match would have been a mere formality. To their credit, they just managed to hold on to this one somehow.
Delhi Daredevils won the toss chose to bowl. They were without their star of the tournament – Chris Morris due to injury and Carlos Brathwaite replaced him. Zaheer led the bowling attack and all the bowlers looked determined to decide the match in their favor. All the Delhi bowlers bowled well to contain the dangerous opening pair of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan.
As they looked to press the accelerator, the new man in; Carlos Brathwaite intervened a Dhawan shot in his follow through and broke the stumps at the strikers end to send him back and give Delhi the much needed breakthrough in the last over of the powerplay.
The openers struck 46 runs for the 1st wicket. The next man Deepak Hooda fell in the very next over in almost similar fashion when Amit Mishra stopped the ball off his own bowling and hit the stumps to find Hooda short of the crease. Warner was carrying on in his own style while the wickets kept falling at the other end. None of the Sunrisers Batsmen were able to score any substantial runs except captain Warner. Warner top scored with 73 runs off 56 balls as other batsmen kept going back to the pavilion. Warner was out finally in the 16th over trying to clear the field in the last overs.
Delhi had pulled back the Sunrisers innings quite appreciably but late cameos from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Naman Ojha pushed the score to 158 which once looked quite far away.
Even 159 was not a very big score but the Hyderabad bowling has defended lesser totals and it was a tough ask for the Delhi Batsmen to chase this down.
Quinton DeKock was dismissed early by Birender Sran for just 2 runs in 9 balls in the 2nd over of the innings sending the Delhi camp into a worrisome mood. Rishabh Pant, who opened today was joined with Karun Nair and they started to play themselves back into the chase with a steady 73 run partnership to calm the nerves of the dressing room. Just as it looked the youngsters will steal the show, Pant was run out to peg Delhi back at 82 for 2 in the 12th over. Delhi still looked firm favorites with 8 wickets in hand and a run rate of about 9 runs an over to get.
JP Duminy finally came at the position where he should; No. 4. Duminy started well but could not add much to pace of the scoreboard.
Karun Nair was steady at the other hand, completing his 3rd half century of this IPL. Karun and Duminy, both got reprieve in consecutive overs when the catches of both the batsmen were dropped. Duminy could not make much of it as he was out trying to hit out Birender Sran, while Karun made sure he was there till the end to decide the match.
Brathwaite was sent up to accelerate but he too perished for the cause after hitting just 10 runs off 7 balls that included a boundary. It was all a Karun Nair show today as he kept coming up with big shots when required the most but at one point it all looked to go down the drain with Mustafir giving away just 5 runs and getting the wicket of Brathwaite in the penultimate over. That left Delhi in a very tight spot with 11 runs needed from the last over. Bhuneshwar almost won the match for his team with a good first 4 balls where just 5 runs were scored. With 6 needed off the last 2 balls, Karun Nair smashed away consecutive boundaries to seal the match for the Daredevils and keep them afloat.
Karun Nair was unbeaten on 83 off just 59 balls.
Sunrisers are already qualified hence have nothing to worry about that in their last game but they would be concerned with the performance of the batsmen today with the deciders to be played soon. Delhi have managed to be relevant till this point and now in all probability their last match with the RCB will be a potential quarter final with the winner being the last team to qualify for the playoffs.