It was one hell of a match. The balls traveled distance and wickets flew. It had all the ingredients of a great cricket match. The match between Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions was played in halves. The first half in both the innings went to the Lions while the second halves were Delhi’s. In the end, Lions emerged victorious by the slimmest margin of 1 run. The match will be remembered as the match of Chris Morris. He brought Delhi back in the game after the initial onslaught from Gujarat Openers and then again brought Delhi back in the game when batting as DD had slumped to 4 wickets for literally nothing.
DD won the toss on a good batting pitch at the Ferozshah Kotla and decided to bowl first in order to chase as dew was expected during the second innings. The decision seemed to backfire as GL Openers McCullum and Dwayne Smith tore into DD bowling from the first ball.
Such was the assault that the Lions reached 50 in 4 overs and 100 in 9 overs without the loss of any wicket. It looked as if the Lions will score well in excess of 200 and just then Smith went back to the bowling of leggie Imran Tahir The next over from Chris Morris changed the course of the match. He got McCullum and Raina in the same over. Lions were reduced to 117 for 3 from 112 for 0. Wickets kept coming and the bowlers bowled a lot a dot balls to pull back the Lions to 172 for 6 in their 20 overs. It was a huge effort from the DD Bowlers. A score which once looked in the zone of 220 was now well short of it and DD were in with a good chance.
With the dew expected to play a major role and Quinton DeKock’s batting form, DD looked firm favorites to chase down 172.
Gujarat bowlers had some other plans though. Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni’s opening spell left DD tottering at 22 for 3 the end of the powerplay. Debutante Rishabh Pant was out on the crease with the experienced JP Duminy. They stalled the fall of wickets for a while, trying to bring Delhi back on track. They added 41 together before James Faulkner dismissed the young Rishabh Pant. And that was the moment.
Chris Morris arrived on the scene and everything changed. He started hitting sixes at will.
He did not want the singles, double or even boundaries, he just wanted the ball to fly over the rope. In all, he hit 8 mammoth sixes and 4 boundaries. On the way, he achieved his half century in just 17 balls. He hit Dwayne Smith for 3 consecutive sixes in one over to tilt the game in Delhi’s favour. Delhi needed just 18 now off the last 2 overs. Praveen Kumar came on to bowl the 19th and changed the game again. He accounted for Duminy off the first ball and then gave away just 4 runs in the over, making the equation a bit tough for Delhi with 14 required off 6 balls. The form Morris was in, it was a matter of just 3 balls. The first ball went for 4 and it looked certain but Bravo bowling the last over had the last laugh. He bowled slower balls and yorkers to restrict DD from doing any further damage and stopped them 1 run short of their score.
Morris remained unbeaten on 82 off 32 balls.
Lions would like to address their middle order batting issues but will be content with this win. The bowlers brought them back in the later stages of the match. DD, on the other hand will take out a lot of positives from this game. Way the bowlers pulled it back and then the lower order’s performance with the bat would bring some relief to the team think tank.