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Daring Daredevils halt the Sunrisers Juggernaut; Back in Top 3

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Sunrisers Hyderabad have emerged an unstoppable force in the last 2 weeks or so while the Delhi Daredevils had lost 2 consecutive matches to the bottom ranked teams. On top of that, it was the Sunrisers’ home stadium; a tailor made pitch for their all seam attack. A fearsome bowling attack that has been the most successful this IPL and a strong batting lineup lead by the explosive David Warner and dangerous hitters like Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh and the recent record clearly made them the strong favorites to win the game. Delhi, on the other hand has some good young domestic batsmen but no big name and a performing bowling attack comprising of a good mix of seam and spin. But cricket matches are never played on the paper.

Sunrisers had no reason to change the team but Delhi has been following a horses for courses strategy and all credit to them that they stuck to it.

They brought in fast bowler Nathan Coulter Nile in place of Imran Tahir keeping in mind the fast pitch at Hyderabad, off spinner Jayant Yadav in for Left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem to tackle the left handed opening pair of the Sunrisers. Zaheer sat out due to an injury and JP Duminy was back as captain in place of Sam Billings.

Duminy won the toss and as expected, elected to field first. As planned, Jayant Yadav opened the innings with the ball and tied the batsmen down in his first 2 overs. Coulter Nile from the other end also bowled well to restrict Warner and Dhawan to just 11 runs in the first 3 overs of the powerplay but the introduction of Shami to the bowling opened the doors for the Sunrisers as they scored another 40 runs in the next 3 overs to close the powerplay at 51 for no loss. Warner was again going strong hitting boundaries at will just when Jayant Yadav came back to castle Warner for 46 runs off 30 balls with the score on 67 in the 9th over. That was the breakthrough that was required and changed everything.

Delhi bowlers again came back to weave the magic on Hyderabad. They choked the runs, bamboozled the batsmen with spin and shattered them with pace. Amit Mishra, Chris Morris and Nathan Coulter Nile were all over the Hyderabad batsmen like a rash.

They kept getting wickets bowled, caught and as bizarre as hitwicket and run out through kicking the ball. They were everywhere. At the end of 20 overs, Sunrisers folded for just 146 runs for the loss of 8 wickets.

147 runs to chase on this wicket was not a difficult task but chasing a total against Sunrisers bowling attack is always a challenge and when the batsmen are as inexperienced as Delhi`s, the task gets tougher. Quinton De Kock opened with Mayank Agarwal and looked his fluent best hitting Ashish Nehra for consecutive 4s and a six in one over. Nehra got Agarwal early but the arrival of Karun Nair made things even better for the Daredevils. Nair played a couple of beautiful cover drives to start with De Kock piercing the offside regularly as usual. The pair looked good to continue long with a partnership of 55 runs in just 6 overs when Moses Henriques delivered an accurate Yorker to castle Karun Nair for 20.  3 balls later it was Dekock who had to walk back to a horrendous decision by the umpire. He scored 44 runs in 31 balls and looked really comfortable out there and well set to finish the match on his own by the 15th over or so. He was given caught behind off Henriques when there was a whole lot of daylight between the bat and the ball.

At 78 for 3, it looked a bit tricky for Delhi, given the experience of their batting lineup. The young pair of Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant had their own plans.

They batted with great maturity and unwinded with some big shots in between to keep the required rate always in check. Warner would have thought that his team had a chance to fight back after the dismissal of De Kock but Samson and Pant put all the doubts to rest with an unbeaten partnership of 72 runs to finish the match with a barrage of sixes and 11 balls to spare. Samson was unbeaten at 34 off 26 while Pant hammered 39 not out off 26 balls. All the bowlers of Sunrisers went for runs as the young duo did not bother about reputations.

It was a much required win for the Daredevils after a 2 match loss string. And that too with a clinical performance like this with both, the bat and the ball against the strongest side of the tournament would have surely rung alarms for the other teams. Delhi would take home a lot of confidence from this game to gather steam in the business end of IPL while Hyderabad still sit pretty on the top of the table but could do well to not let complacency set in.