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All-round Delhi swat Hyderabad aside

Wisden India logo Wisden India 12-05-2016

The official attendance for the Indian Premier League match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday (May 12) was 25,009. But from a panoramic glance across the stands, it was hard to gauge how the venue, which is capable of hosting a 33,000-strong gathering, could accommodate any more of the roaring fans who had turned up to watch Hyderabad’s last home game this season on the night.

The result might not have gone their way, but the fans were definitely treated to some very good quality cricket. Chasing Hyderabad’s 146 for 8, Delhi went over the line in 18.1 overs, cruising to a seven-wicket win and jumping up to the third spot in the eight-team Indian Premier League 2016 points table.

Delhi brought back Mayank Agarwal, the opening batsman, in one of four changes to a side led by JP Duminy after Zaheer Khan sat out for the second time in the tournament with a niggle. With Zaheer missing, Delhi had to bring back Duminy to lead and also drafted Nathan Coulter-Nile to strengthen the bowling, which meant there was no room for Carlos Brathwaite and Sam Billings.

Agarwal, however, floundered his second chance in the tournament, driving the ball straight to Yuvraj Singh at extra cover after hitting two glorious fours early on.

That was the first wicket to go down for Delhi, who then turned to the in-form duo of Quinton de Kock and Karun Nair to give their middle-order batsmen a platform to chase the target down. It will not be fair to say that they let them down, but with both batsmen being dismissed in the same over – the ninth one of the innings, bowled by Moises Henriques – the home side would have sensed an opening to script a twist in the tale.

Nair hit three fours in his 17-ball knock of 20, and de Kock fell attempting an upper cut after scoring 44 off 31 balls, which included five fours and two sixes. The legitimacy of de Kock’s dismissal could be debated, as the batsman appeared to have actually missed the ball, but after a long, persistent appeal from Henriques, Marais Erasmus, the on-field umpire, raised his finger. The disappointed de Kock had to leave, and Delhi were left in a slight spot of bother at 78 for 3 in 9.5 overs.

One would have imagined the experienced Duminy would come in at that stage, but he instead showed faith in the youngsters in the side. Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant found themselves in a situation where Delhi needed 69 runs off 61 balls, and a wicket at that stage would clearly giveHyderabad the upper hand.

But they batted with tremendous maturity, stringing a fourth-wicket stand of 72 off just 50 balls that sealed a confidence-boosting victory for the visiting side, who now have 12 points in their kitty, and are only behind Hyderabad and Gujarat Lions, who have secured 14 points for themselves so far.

Samson ended with 34 not out off 26 deliveries, and Pant remained unbeaten on 39, having also faced 26 balls.

Earlier, David Warner got Hyderabad off to a solid start – something that has been a norm in this season – with Shikhar Dhawan playing his role of rotating the strike, leaving the big-hitting to his captain.

Warner started cautiously, tapping the ball around for the first eight times he took strike, and then switched to his destructive self, hitting six fours and a six on his way to a 30-ball 46. The 67-run opening stand, which came off 45 balls, eventually ended in the ninth over, when Jayant Yadav, the right-arm offspinner who replaced left-armer Shahbaz Nadeem in the playing XI, went past Warner’s defences with a sharply turning delivery.

For the next four overs, Kane Williamson and Dhawan kept the run-rate up, which meant that even when Dhawan fell, Hyderabad were in a good position to capitalise, with the scoreboard reading 98 for 2 in 13 overs.

But the strategic timeout that followed immediately after that wicket seemed to change Delhi’s approach altogether. The bowlers stuck to their plans, and the next seven overs saw them send six batsmen back to the hut, and in the process, give just 48 runs away.

Chris Morris might have finished with just one wicket against his name, but he led the charge when Delhi started strengthening their grip over the proceedings. Morris’s four overs yielded just 19 runs, and he was well backed by Amit Mishra (2 for 19) and Coulter-Nile (2 for 25). Between them the bowlers kept Hyderabad to a total the batsmen had no difficulty in chasing down.

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