New Delhi: Delhi Daredevils' winless streak in IPL 6 continued with their fourth consecutive loss, the latest by three wickets to Sunrisers Hyderabad in a low-scoring thriller at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Friday. Delhi were restricted to their lowest total of the season but threatened to defend it, reducing the visitors to 100 for 7 before Amit Mishra and Dale Steyn came to the rescue in a tense finale.
Hyderabad's chase was a stop-start affair, which needed Mishra's 16 not out and Steyn's cool-headed unbeaten 9 to overcome a collapse of 6 for 54 to seal the team's third win in four matches in the final over. Mahela Jayawardene rotated his bowlers well and employed smart field placements but Delhi just did not have runs to work with.
Though Delhi fought hard in the field, the match was lost in the first half when, after opting to bat, they limped to 29 for 3 after six overs, the worst Powerplay performance of the season, and then the slowest fifty in all IPL matches. Hyderabad's bowlers were smart and accurate, Delhi's top three were consumed within five overs, the rest struggled, and hence a poor total of 114 for 8.
An outstanding opening spell (2-1-2-1) from Steyn, who bowled with venom and kept it between the stumps, and a double-wicket burst from Ishant Sharma rocked Delhi early and they never found a recovery. David Warner, after two drives straight to fielders and a waft outside off stump, played an aerial drive to mid-on. Off the very next delivery, Jayawardene got a thick edge to a superb outswinger but Parthiv Patel was late to react with a lunge to his right. The drop cost Hyderabad 12 runs, for the Delhi captain struck one effortless six off the pads before trying another big hit which went nowhere but up in the air and into Steyn's hands at mid-on. Ishant then had two in two as Virender Sehwag steered to Cameron White at slip for 12.
Johan Botha and Manprit Juneja put on 18 before Botha cut Anand Rajan straight to point to leave Delhi at 44 for 4 in nine overs. Steyn returned to bowl the 11th over and Irfan Pathan top-edged a four to put 50 on board for Delhi, and in the 14th Juneja drove Mishra to point for a 22-ball 15.
From there on, Hyderabad's bowlers employed a tight grip on the batsmen; only two fours and a couple sixes came in the rest of the innings. Kedar Jhadav injected some oomph with a six and four off Ishant's final over but another double-wicket over stunted any hopes Delhi had of a late surge. In the space of three balls Thisara Perera picked up Irfan Pathan (23) swinging to deep midwicket and Morne Morkel (0), upper-cutting to third man. Steyn returned to clean up Shahbaz Nadeem for Delhi's third zero, and in the last over Jadhav struck Perera for four and six.
Hyderabad's chase towards a small target was nervy. Akshath Reddy was run out by a superb piece of athleticism from Nadeem, who nailed a direct hit from midwicket in a maiden second over from debutant Siddarth Kaul. Nadeem then ended a 44-run stand between Patel (19) and Kumar Sangakkara when he got the former to pop back a return catch in the eighth over. Sangakkara started strongly with a series of languid drives but slowed down as Jayawardene persisted with spin from both ends, and fell edging Botha to his Sri Lanka team-mate for a run-a-ball 28.
At 54 for 3 in 11 overs, Hyderabad needed to step on the gas with an asking rate of 6.77. The pressure told on White, who advanced to Nadeem and was stumped for 4, and two balls later Hanumi Vihari drilled Morkel to mid-off. Ashish Reddy chanced his arm and collected two fours off Umesh Yadav but a terrible shot saw him bowled by Morkel for 16 first ball of the 17th over. A Morkel free hit ratcheted up the tension, and Mishra swung four over midwicket to reduce the target to 21 off 20 balls and then sped between the wickets for two more. An edge past a diving wicketkeeper meant Hyderabad needed 18 off 18.
The match swung further; Perera fell to a smart catch from Botha just inside the long-on boundary off Irfan, then Mishra uppercut Yadav over point four. Yadav finished the penultimate over with two dots to Mishra, leaving Hyderabad to get six off six balls. Irfan was the designated bowler and Steyn carved two over cover and then drilled a straight four to seal a tense victory.