Delhi bowlers successfully defend 168, deny Rising Pune easy playoffs passage

Delhi Daredevils (DD) played only for pride but produced one of their better displays of IPL 2017, to deny Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) a comfortable passage into the playoffs. By registering a seven-run win at home and also completing the double over Steve Smith’s men, Delhi have made Pune Supergiant’s home match against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday a virtual final for these two teams.

Zaheer Khan bucked the trend of winning the toss and bowling first by opting to bat first on a pitch that was a touch drier and expected to get slower as the match progressed. Daredevils made an unenviable start, slumping to 9/2 in the third over and seemingly relinquishing the advantage of batting first. Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer were dismissed for single-digit scores.

Karun Nair, whose highest score of this IPL season had been 39, came to his team’s rescue with a substantial knock of 64 (45). Nair shared a 74-run partnership for the third wicket with Rishabh Pant, who himself was in good touch after a couple of low scores in his last two innings. Together, they batted fluently and put the Rising Pune bowlers on the back-foot by cashing in on the loose deliveries and also being proactive in their approach.

Pant was dismissed for a 22-ball 36 by Adam Zampa just when the Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman began to look dangerous. And the loss of Pant did bring Delhi’s scoring rate down, particularly due to Marlon Samuels getting his eye in. Samuels managed to score just seven runs off his first 12 deliveries and Delhi might have felt that the innings was going nowhere. But a mis-hit six against Shardul Thakur got Samuels going, and the West Indian went from 7 runs off 12 balls to 27 runs off 20 balls before being dismissed on his 21st delivery.

Delhi had put themselves in a good position ahead of the final six overs. They still had Nair in the middle and Corey Anderson was yet to bat. But the hosts didn’t make the most of the good position they were in and scored only 51 runs off the final six overs, to finish with 168/8. Ben Stokes, who had produced a direct hit to dismiss Samson in the first over of the match, had another worldie moment on the field.

Fielding at deep mid-wicket, Stokes showed great awareness and agility to catch the ball that was going to just fly over his head, ensure he didn’t step on the boundary cushions or plant his foot beyond the boundary cushion, throw the ball back onto the field of play, and then complete the catch on the second attempt. Mohammed Shami, who might have thought that he had made a decent connection to get six more runs to his name and to his team’s total, was caught out. This was another brilliant piece of skill from the English all-rounder who enjoyed another great match in IPL 2017, with his going on to bowl a spell of 4-11 dots-31-2 as well.

Rising Pune needed to score 169 for not just a win but a place in the playoffs as well. Their innings played out in a similar vain as Delhi’s, with the two openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi, falling cheaply and leaving their team in a deep trouble. Rahane was dismissed for a golden duck by Zaheer Khan, whose very first delivery was an absolute peach: he shaped the ball back into the right-hander, created a yawning gap between bat and pad and flattened Rahane’s middle stump. The Mumbai batsman, you can say, was unlucky to get such a delivery first up. And Rahane became Zaheer’s 100th IPL wicket.

The Delhi skipper struck once again, in the fifth over of the Pune innings, dismissing Tripathi for 7. Despite picking two early wickets, Daredevils couldn’t afford to relax… for a certain Steve Smith was in the middle and looked in supreme touch as well. Smith found the boundary at regular intervals and had a nonchalance about the way he collected his runs, as he usually does. The Pune skipper toyed with the Delhi fieldset in one particular over of Shahbaz Nadeem.

Nadeem had gotten the second delivery of the innings’ fourth over to spin sharply past the outside edge of Smith’s bat. Both players exchanged looks, with the bowler having won the psychological battle. But what followed on the next three deliveries spoke volumes about the genius of Smith the batsman.

The delivery after he was beaten was slightly short and a couple of inches outside the off stump, and Smith cut the ball in front of square on the off-side. This ball went to the right of the man at deep point. The next delivery was danced down to and hit down the ground for a six. Nadeem now was firmly on the back-foot and Smith, the great batsman he is, anticipated the next Nadeem move, which was bowling flat and not getting hit over your head. The Australian skipper rocked back onto the back-foot and this time, with the man previously at deep point moved to sweeper cover on the boundary, placed the ball that was going on to hit off stump behind square and to the left of the sweeper cover.

Smith took his team’s total to 53/2 at the end of six overs, putting them in a commanding position. At the other end, Manoj Tiwary, who was once again promoted to No. 4 in the batting order, was stroking the ball nicely as well. Together, this pair looked in complete command of the proceedings. Pune Supergiant were going along at a touch over eight runs per over and were as a result on course for a victory.

But the course of the match changed with the reintroduction of Nadeem into the attack in the 10th over. He dismissed Smith on the very first delivery, trapping him in front of the stumps. Smith was aggrieved at the umpire’s decision, in the belief that he was struck high on the back foot and the ball might have been going over the stumps. But the replays showed that the Pune skipper was wrong to remonstrate with the umpire’s call.

Smith’s wicket brought Ben Stokes to the middle and the Englishman made a strange start to his innings. He didn’t look to build on the momentum of the innings and instead, played out a few dot balls. As a result of Stokes’s approach, the required run rate started to go above nine runs per over and Pune Supergiant’s innings began to ebb away.

However, with seven wickets in hand and MS Dhoni still to come, Pune were in control of the chase despite Stokes being leisurely at the start of his innings. The visitors were also being assisted by some shoddy fielding once again from Delhi, who gifted easy runs through misfields and dropped simple catches. Stokes and Tiwary had forged a partnership which had brought Delhi 43 runs off 35 balls and Pune were 117/3 at the end of 15 overs. They had wickets in hand and quality batsmen in the middle, but they had made life difficult for themselves by not batting proactively during the middle phase.

Mohammed Shami came on to bowl the sixteenth over of the innings and Stokes had seen enough to unleash himself. But he was not at his fluent best on this night and having struck Shami for a six on the second delivery of the 16th over, Stokes miscued a full-toss and was caught at long-on. This was a crucial wicket, but Delhi needed a couple more.

And they got those by building up pressure and forcing errors off the batsmen. Dhoni walked into a difficult match situation and couldn’t get going from the word go. With 35 runs needed off 16 balls, Dhoni was uncharacteristically run out by Shami, who hit the stumps directly from short fine leg and caught the former skipper short of his ground at the non-striker’s end.

Daniel Christian, in the 19th over, tried to paddle a yorker past short fine-leg and was wrapped on the pads by Shami, who had now picked up the crucial wickets of Stokes and Christian. When Christian was dismissed, on the second delivery of the penultimate over, Pune still needed 31 runs off 10 balls, a seemingly impossible target.

And then, with 25 runs required off the last over, which was to be bowled by Pat Cummins, the general consensus was that Delhi had the match in the bag. But Tiwary, who had kept losing his partners, struck a couple of sixes at the start of the over and set the cat among the pigeons.

Cummins had bowled two fuller length deliveries, one on leg stump and one on off stump, which disappeared over square leg and cover for two sixes, bringing the equation down to 13 runs required off four balls. Cummins compounded problems for himself by bowling a wide on the next delivery and leaving Pune two boundaries away from a smash-and-grab win. But the Australian quick regathered himself and bowled two dot balls. Still, defending only 12 runs off two balls, Cummins was the man under pressure. But he handled it pretty well and helped his team win by seven runs. Tiwary was clean bowled on the last ball of the match, for a 45-ball 60 (5×4 and 3×6).

Pune, with an unorganised batting display, had relinquished what was a wonderful opportunity to seal their place in the playoffs. Delhi, however, with an all-round display, registered their sixth win of this IPL season.

Karun Nair was awarded the man-of-the-match for his 45-ball 64 (9×4).

Delhi Daredevils v Rising Pune Supergiant, 52nd match scorecard

Playing XIs

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

Pune: 1. Steve Smith (c), 2. Rahul Tripathi, 3. Ajinkya Rahane, 4. MS Dhoni (wk), 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Manoj Tiwary, 7. Daniel Christian, 8. Washington Sundar, 9. Shardul Thakur, 10. Jaydev Unadkat, and 11. Adam Zampa

Scores

Daredevils: 168/8 (Nair 64 and Pant 36; Unadkat 2/29)
Supergiant: 161/7 (Tiwary 60 and Smith 38; Zaheer 2/25)

Delhi Daredevils (DD) innings (toss: Delhi, who chose to bat first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Sanju Samson run out by Stokes 2 (4) 0 0 50.00
Karun Nair caught Unadkat, bowled Stokes 64 (45) 9 0 142.22
Shreyas Iyer caught Dhoni, bowled Unadkat 3 (4) 0 0 75.00
Rishabh Pant caught Christian, bowled Zampa 36 (22) 4 2 163.63
Marlon Samuels caught Dhoni, bowled Christian 27 (21) 1 2 128.57
Corey Anderson stumped Dhoni, bowled Sundar 3 (5) 0 0 60.00
Pat Cummins bowled Stokes 11 (6) 0 1 183.33
Amit Mishra not out 13 (9) 0 1 144.44
Mohammed Shami caught Stokes, bowled Unadkat 2 (4) 0 0 50.00
Shahbaz Nadeem not out 0 (0) 0 0 0.00
Batsman who didn’t bat: Zaheer Khan
Extras: 7 (4 wides and 3 leg byes)
DD’s total: 168/8 in 20 overs, at 8.40 runs per over
DD’s fall of wickets: 3/1 (Samson, 0.6), 9/2 (Iyer, 2.1), 83/3 (Pant, 8.5), 117/4 (Samuels, 13.6), 124/5 (Anderson, 15.2), 140/6 (Cummins, 16.5), 162/7 (Nair, 18.5), and 166/8 (Shami, 19.5)
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Jaydev Unadkat 4 10 29 2 7.25
Shardul Thakur 3 7 35 0 11.67
Washington Sundar 3 7 23 1 7.67
Ben Stokes 4 11 31 2 7.75
Adam Zampa 4 9 29 1 7.25
Daniel Christian 2 1 18 1 9.00
Pune innings (target: 169 runs in 20 overs, at 8.45 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Ajinkya Rahane bowled Zaheer 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
Rahul Tripathi caught Pant, bowled Zaheer 7 (6) 1 0 116.66
Steve Smith leg before wicket Nadeem 38 (32) 4 1 118.75
Manoj Tiwary bowled Cummins 60 (45) 5 3 133.33
Ben Stokes caught Anderson, bowled Shami 33 (25) 3 2 132.00
MS Dhoni run out by Shami 5 (5) 0 0 100.00
Daniel Christian leg before wicket Shami 3 (3) 0 0 100.00
Washington Sundar not out 5 (3) 0 0 166.66
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat and Adam Zampa
Extras: 10 (5 wides and 5 leg byes)
RPS’s total: 161/7 in 20 overs, at 8.05 runs per over
RPS’s fall of wickets: 0/1 (Rahane, 0.1), 36/2 (Tripathi, 4.1), 74/3 (Smith, 9.1), 125/4 (Stokes, 15.4), 134/5 (Dhoni, 17.3), 138/6 (Christian, 18.2), and 161/7 (Tiwary, 19.6)
Delhi bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Zaheer Khan 4 7 25 2 6.25
Mohammed Shami 4 7 37 2 9.25
Shahbaz Nadeem 3 11 21 1 7.00
Amit Mishra 3 4 26 0 8.67
Pat Cummins 4 12 31 1 7.75
Marlon Samuels 1 2 12 0 12.00
Corey Anderson 1 3 4 0 4.00

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