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All-round Delhi beat back Mumbai challenge

Wisden India logo Wisden India 23-04-2016

A team other than Royal Challengers Bangalore can defend totals after all. Delhi Daredevils became only the second team in the Indian Premier League 2016 to win after batting first, as they defeated Mumbai Indians by 10 runs in a thrilling match at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday (April 23).

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Put in to bat, Delhi made a formidable 164 for 4, powered by Sanju Samson’s 60 (48 balls) and JP Duminy’s unbeaten 49 off 31, and restricted Mumbai to 154 for 7 despite Rohit Sharma’s fighting 48-ball 65. It was a combined effort by Delhi’s bowlers, Amit Mishra leading the way with 2 for 24.

Mumbai’s chase started on a wrong note when Parthiv Patel ran himself out after an ill-judged attempt at a second run in the second over, but the dismissal had no impact on Rohit. He had begun with two boundaries in Zaheer Khan’s first over, and continued the momentum even when Delhi tried spin in the form of Pawan Negi in the third over, cutting, pulling and driving boundaries in a 19-run over.

Ambati Rayudu too got into the act and three more boundaries followed in the next over, taking Mumbai to 45 for 1 by the end of the fourth over. It didn’t help Delhi that Duminy dropped a tough catch off Chris Morris when Rayudu was on 16.

Rayudu threw away the life when he missed an ugly slog off Amit Mishra to be bowled, but Mumbai yet again sprung a surprise by promoting Krunal Pandya. The elder Pandya was sent specifically to take on Delhi’s leg-spin duo of Mishra and Imran Tahir and that’s precisely what he did – smashing them for boundaries including two sixes.

Krunal was up to task when Delhi turned to pace too, steering Mohammad Shami and lofting Zaheer for boundaries. The game seemed to be slipping away but Zaheer kept his side in the hunt, running out Krunal against the run of play in his follow-through.

Krunal seemed to have done his job with a stunning 17-ball 36 but Mumbai’s job was far from over. Delhi’s leg-spin duo gave just 14 runs in the next three overs, with Mishra also foxing Jos Buttler with a wrong ‘un.

All of a sudden, Mumbai needed a daunting 42 runs from the last three overs. Rohit was well set and past his fifty but with Kieron Pollard struggling at the other end and Zaheer bowling yorkers as if that’s the easiest thing to do, the task became even tougher.

Pollard did manage to put Zaheer away for a six in the penultimate over but once the wily former Indian pacer had his revenge off the very next ball, the chase was all but over.

Mumbai needed 21 from the final over, bowled by Chris Morris, and the challenge officially ended when Rohit was run out – the third of the innings – after a mid-pitch collision with Hardik Pandya.

Earlier, Delhi’s innings started in sensational fashion when Quinton de Kock drove Tim Southee for two beautiful fours in the first over. However, any hope of a repeat of his heroics against Royal Challengers Bangalore was killed when he toe-ended an attempted swipe off Mitchell McClenaghan to point in the next over.

The wicket hampered Delhi’s run-rate in the Power Play. Shreyas Iyer struggled for a while and just when he seemed to get going, he mistimed a lofted shot off Hardik to sweeper cover. Karun Nair started confidently with a reverse-swept four off Harbhajan Singh but perished immediately when he hit a conventional sweep to deep backward square-leg.

Zaheer Khan, Delhi’s captain, had spoken at the toss about the need for partnerships and he got it from the pair of Samson and Duminy. Samson took his time to settle before taking on Harbhajan in the 12th over, hitting the offspinner for a massive 108 metre straight six and following it up with another boundary.

Samson crossed his half-century off 40 balls before holding out to long-off in pursuit of a big finish. He had, however, done a good job for his side adding 71 runs for the fourth wicket with Duminy.

The South African left-hander had dealt in singles until then and shifted gears effortlessly after Samson’s exit. Jasprit Bumrah was getting his yorkers right but Duminy dealt with them superbly, squeezing and lapping them for boundaries. Almost silently, without playing a shot in anger, Duminy ended on 49 and took Delhi past 160.

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