Daredevils: Pant (97) and Samson (61) Make a Mockery of Gujarat’s 208

Match report

Just 11 nights ago, they struggled to chase down 143 at one of the better batting tracks in the country and also not so long ago, they seemed done and dusted. But in a matter of three nights and two matches, Delhi Daredevils (DD) have given themselves reasons to believe that they can achieve the unthinkable. Because, for the second match in succession, their batting line-up not just came good but out-batted its opposite number, pulverised the opposition bowling attack and helped Delhi seal a commanding seven-wicket win at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson put together a 143-run partnership that will be talked about for a long, long time. It had so many great aspects that I’ll try to put into words for you here.

Samson and Pant came together with Delhi at 24/1 and needing a further 185 runs for victory. It was a mammoth proposition and Gujarat had given themselves enough of a cushion of runs even on a good batting pitch and a small ground.

But this massive task at hand didn’t faze them; anxiety and early nerves were nowhere to be seen, and Pant and Samson defied logic, basically, with their approach and execution.

Both these batsmen held their own and played the way you expect them to, but what astounded us was the ease and dominance with which they hunted down a formidable total. Samson was elegance personified and Pant was brutal. There were no half measures and neither did this duo try to be cheeky. They saw the ball and hit it, simple. But most importantly, they picked the right balls to hit; didn’t allow the variations get the better of them and for long, didn’t mis-hit or mis-time the ball.

Therefore, this was in many ways a masterclass of striking the ball cleanly. Samson and Pant favoured hitting sixes over fours and as aforementioned, they struck the ball sweetly… every single time.

Short ball, full ball, good length ball, left-arm seamer, right-arm pacer, left-arm orthodox spinner, leg-spinner, or off-spinner didn’t matter because they middled the ball against each one of those varieties whilst bringing their natural instincts into play. Samson looked to caress the ball and still sent the ball miles. Pant, on the other hand, hit the ball as hard as he could, without mistiming or miscuing the ball, which is very much a possibility when you’re in hard-hitting mode.

Samson made 61 off 31 balls, with seven hits over the fence. Pant, the more dominant partner, scored four more runs (97) than Chris Lynn (93) against the same opposition and a similar bowling attack, but took the same number of balls (43). Pant’s innings was punctuated by six fours and nine sixes.

When these two batsmen began their innings and played a couple of attractive shots, we were merely in awe of their abilities. And then, as the night wore on and we started to see two young guns delivering something substantial, which mind you was also the need of the hour, we said to ourselves that Samson and Pant were playing to potential. But substantial gave way to coming off age, the revolutionary innings and aspects of such sorts, to leave us spellbound by what we were being served up by two young guns of Indian Cricket.

Samson and Pant put together 143 runs for the second wicket, in just 63 balls, and by the time they were separated in the 14th over (13.2), Daredevils were well within sight of winning the 42nd match of IPL 2017. They needed just 42 more runs from 40 balls, and had eight wickets in hand.

Without any madness, Delhi were seen home by Corey Anderson and Shreyas Iyer with 15 balls to spare. Pant missed out on what will have been a truly fantastic century by three runs, but he had won hearts, probably gathered a new level of belief in himself and wowed many a great of this wonderful sport, including Sachin Tendulkar.

Earlier in the evening, a 133-run third-wicket partnership between Suresh Raina (77) and Dinesh Karthik (65) helped Gujarat recover from losing their openers early in their innings—Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum fell in back-to-back deliveries (1.1 and 1.2)—and post a formidable total of 208/7 batting first.

Raina was the aggressor early on in this partnership, as he took the attack to the opposition instead of looking to play himself in. He was also in great batting rhythm, striking the ball cleanly and finding the boundary regularly. None of Daredevils’ bowlers was spared and the runs came thick and fast. Raina scored all round the dial, though his major scoring zones were in front of square on the off side (25 runs) and leg side (38 runs).

Dinesh Karthik didn’t take long to get going as well and was equally devastating as the Gujarat skipper. The Tamilnadu wicketkeeper-batsman played another one of his vintage knocks in the Indian Premier League and was difficult to bowl to from the Delhi bowlers’ perspective. He was very good off the front and back-foot and the shots he played throughout his innings of 65 (5×4 and 5×6) were a treat to the eye. Karthik and Raina fell in quick succession and the Gujarat innings ebbed away. At one stage, the visitors looked like they might not even reach 200. But Ravindra Jadeja hit two sixes off the final two balls, to take his team to 208/7, a formidable total at that time.

The story of the 42nd match could have been a whole lot different for both these sides if Shreyas Iyer held onto a simple chance at first slip in the second over of the match. Raina was batting on just two when he once again failed to handle a lethal bouncer from Kagiso Rabada. The left-hander tried to hook and the ball kissed the outside edge of his bat and ballooned up in the air. But Iyer misjudged the pace of the ball in flight and went with hard hands. He juggled the ball multiple times and failed to hold on. Raina was also given a third life when Samuels dropped another sitter, fielding at mid-wicket. Delhi’s fielding was a mixed bag on the night. They were sloppy at times and sensational at certain moments.

Rabada was back to his best after being taken to the cleaners in the previous match. He not only bowled economically but also struck at the vital moments. Pat Cummins was the other standout bowler for Delhi, conceding just 30 runs and taking two wickets, figures which can be termed unusual in such a high-scoring match.

On a night they fielded poorly once again, Corey Anderson and Rishabh Pant took a couple of spectacular catches to limit the damage that was being caused to Delhi’s bowlers. Anderson, in particular, took a truly sensation catch that will take some bettering. Karthik mis-timed a lofted drive and the ball seemed to be heading over Anderson, who was fielding at mid-off. But the Kiwi braced himself up quickly, timed his jump and got his natural hand into the right position at the right time. He was flying as he plucked the ball out of the air one-handed.

Delhi will not have been happy with their bowling and fielding at half-time, but by full-time, they will have completely forgotten their shortcomings, which were on show during the Gujarat innings. They remained sixth on the table, but most importantly, keep themselves in the hunt for reaching the IPL 2017 playoffs.

Pant was the man of the match for his 97.

Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions, 42nd Match Scorecard

Playing XIs
Delhi: 1. Karun Nair (c), 2. Sanju Samson, 3. Shreyas Iyer, 4. Rishabh Pant (wk), 5. Corey Anderson, 6. Marlon Samuels, 7. Pat Cummins, 8. Kagiso Rabada, 9. Shahbaz Nadeem, 10. Amit Mishra, and 11. Mohammed Shami

Gujarat: 1. Suresh Raina (c), 2. Brendon McCullum, 3. Ishan Kishan, 4. Aaron Finch, 5. Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6. Dwayne Smith, 7. James Faulkner, 8. Basil Thampi, 9. Pradeep Sangwan, 10. Ravindra Jadeja, and 11. Ankit Soni


Gujarat: 208/7 (Raina 77 and Karthik 65; Rabada 2/28 and Cummins 2/30)
Delhi: 214/3 (Pant 97 and Samson 61; Jadeja 1/28)

Gujarat Lions (GL) innings (toss: Delhi, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Dwayne Smith run out Nadeem 9 (4) 2 0 225.00
Brendon McCullum caught Pant, bowled Rabada 1 (3) 0 0 33.33
Suresh Raina run out Rabada 77 (43) 5 4 179.06
Dinesh Karthik caught Anderson, bowled Cummins 65 (34) 5 5 191.17
Aaron Finch caught Pant, bowled Rabada 27 (19) 4 0 142.10
Ishan Kishan caught Iyer, bowled Cummins 4 (6) 0 0 66.66
Ravindra Jadeja not out 18 (7) 0 2 257.14
James Faulkner caught Brathwaite (sub), bowled Anderson 1 (3) 0 0 33.33
Pradeep Sangwan not out 1 (1) 0 0 100.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Basil Thampi and Ankit Soni
Extras: 5 (4 wides and 1 leg bye)
GL’s total: 208/7 in 20 overs, at 10.40 runs per over
GL’s fall of wickets: 10/1 (McCullum, 1.1), 10/2 (Smith, 1.2), 143/3 (Raina, 13.2), 158/4 (Karthik, 14.1), 178/5 (Kishan, 17.1), 189/6 (Finch, 18.3), and 192/7 (Faulkner, 19.1)
Delhi Daredevils (DD) bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Shahbaz Nadeem 2 3 28 0 14.00
Kagiso Rabada 4 11 28 2 7.00
Pat Cummins 4 9 30 2 7.50
Mohammed Shami 3 4 40 0 13.33
Amit Mishra 2 1 23 0 11.50
Marlon Samuels 2 3 22 0 11.00
Corey Anderson 3 3 36 1 12.00
Delhi innings (target: 209 runs in 20 overs, at 10.45 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Sanju Samson caught Faulkner, bowled Jadeja 61 (31) 0 7 196.77
Karun Nair caught Karthik, bowled Sangwan 12 (11) 2 0 109.09
Rishabh Pant caught Karthik, bowled Thampi 97 (43) 6 9 225.58
Shreyas Iyer not out 14 (8) 0 2 175.00
Corey Anderson not out 18 (12) 0 2 150.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Marlon Samuels, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Shahbaz Nadeem, Amit Mishra, and Mohammed Shami
Extras: 12 (5 wides, 6 leg byes and 1 bye)
DD’s total: 214/3 in 17.3 overs, at 12.22 runs per over
DD’s fall of wickets: 24/1 (Nair, 2.5), 167/2 (Samson, 13.2) and 179/3 (Pant, 14.3)
Gujarat bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Pradeep Sangwan 4 11 43 1 10.75
Basil Thampi 4 9 40 1 10.00
James Faulkner 2.3 5 35 0 14.00
Suresh Raina 2 3 24 0 12.00
Ankit Soni 2 2 26 0 13.00
Ravindra Jadeja 2 4 28 1 14.00
Dwayne Smith 1 1 11 0 11.00

One comment

  1. Man what a chase, phew. The Indian youngsters promising in this season of IPL. I only wish they get to play for their National side. As a fan of Raina’s batting I was happy when he was dropped early in his innings, and indulged in his hitting and wishing to see a century from the South Paw. Unfortunately the wish didn’t prosper. But what happened with the chase was unbelievable. They are young and experienced in the Ranji Level but to keep hitting the international level bowlers for boundaries is not a cake walk. Your one line summarizes the chase “Samson was elegance personified and Pant was brutal.”. As famously said once by Harsha Bhogle about a partnership of Sachin and Dhoni. Same words can apply here, “Its the Surgeon at the one end and a butcher at the other’. Thank you for your writing Suhith you keep us connected to our passion.

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