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Dinda, Zampa add to Delhi’s gloom

Wisden India logo Wisden India 17-05-2016
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It is the ignominy of the sides who fail to make the playoffs before others in the Indian Premier League. They have to play on, knowing they really have nothing to play for. But they would want to have a say in matters all the same. On Tuesday (May 17) at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam, Rising Pune Supergiants had a big say in Delhi Daredevils’ fortunes in IPL 2016. Their 19-run win by the Duckworth-Lewis method ensured it’s squeaky-bum time for Delhi in the remainder of the tournament, for the Daredevils now have to win both their remaining matches to assure themselves of progress.

After their crushing 80-run loss to Mumbai Indians in their previous outing, Delhi once again rang in the changes, ditching the three-man spin attack and flooding it with four pacemen. Unfortunately, their batsmen never gave the bowlers much chance. With Ashok Dinda and Adam Zampa picking up three wickets apiece, Delhi were restricted to 121 for 6, in itself thanks to manic last-over hitting from Chris Morris (38 not out off 20). But that was never going to threaten the ‘home’ side.

Pune were comfortable in their chase, and a 55-minute rain delay was needed to halt their progress. Play resumed for 16 more balls, but the second delay, with no sign of rain letting off, led to the players shaking hands. Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on a 36-ball 42, while George Bailey accompanied him on 8, with Pune finishing on 72 for 1 in 11 overs. The loss meant Delhi remain on sixth spot in the table – and desperate – while Pune rise to seventh.

The signs were always ominous. Delhi have relied heavily on Quinton de Kock to get them off to good starts, but the Pune pacers found movement early on and kept the batsmen honest. When Dinda got one to nip back into de Kock and trapped him plumb in front, Delhi knew they had a game on their hands.

Unfortunately, the young line-up couldn’t cope. Shreyas Iyer, included in place of Mayank Agarwal, failed to capitalise, attempting to pull Dinda’s short delivery when he was in no position to do so. Zampa was later introduced, and he promptly drew Sanju Samson out, turned it appreciably, and had him stumped.

All the while, Karun Nair put away the occasional – but stylish – boundaries to just about keep Delhi above water. Despite that, the run-rate crawled: The Power Play yielded just 28 runs and the 50 mark was crossed only in the 11th over. It didn’t help that Delhi threw away their wickets. The need of the hour was sensible rotation of strike, but Rishabh Pant betrayed inexperience, going after Zampa needlessly and holing out. The legspinner then had Karun deceived and trapped in front for a 43-ball 41, and Delhi were reduced to 70 for 5.

JP Duminy and Morris then kept rotating strike, mindful of the need to add meat to the total. They put on 23 in six overs, and were all set to attack in the final two overs when Duminy, attempting to do just that, scooped one straight to short fine leg.

It seemed it just wasn’t Delhi’s day, but Morris marred things a tad for Pune, taking 22 run off Thisara Perera in the final over. He was dropped by Dinda in the penultimate ball, which ended up at the fence, even as the bowler was punished repeatedly for sending in full tosses, going for two sixes and as many fours.

The Pune batsmen ensured that final bit of tardiness wouldn’t have to be rued. Usman Khawaja and Ajinkya Rahane added a quick 31 for the opening wicket, with the Australian picking on Zaheer Khan in the third over. Three boundaries were tickled on both sides of the wicket, and 14 runs were garnered off the over. His enterprise proved costly though, when he sliced Morris straight to point. But Pune had the start they needed.

Thereafter, Bailey teamed up with Rahane and the two kept things moving. There was a nervy moment when a Nathan Coulter-Nile bouncer crashed into Bailey’s helmet, damaging it enough to force if off him. A concerned Coulter-Nile rushed forward, as did other fielders, but he emerged smiling, as usual. They shared a laugh and carried on.

Then came the rain interruptions, and eventually the call-off, all dull and gloomy, and rather fitting Delhi’s current mood.

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