New Delhi: Corey Anderson smashed the first ball of the 19th over from Siddarth Kaul as Chris Morris ran in from the non-striker’s end to hug the Kiwi. More importantly, the mostly somber Rahul Dravid wore a look of relief on his face. Delhi Daredevils had finally managed to win their third game of the season, beating defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Ferozeshah Kotla by 6 wickets. With the win they are still mathematically in the race for a place in the playoffs.
With 6 points from 9 games, Delhi are now seated on the seventh spot, but they have played the least number of games. That keeps them alive in the race, even though it is an uphill task. For the first time in the tournament, the batting clicked in unison and that ensured that even though Delhi needed to score more than 8 runs per over, they never looked under pressure. It was the perfect chase.
Chasing 186, Delhi started on a positive note as Sanju Samson and Karun Nair looked to take the attack to the Hyderabad bowlers from the second over itself.
Samson was the man in charge as he kept hitting the boundaries in the first three overs. But Nair too joined the party as David Warner handed the ball to Siddarth Kaul. Nair picked a six and a boundary off the fifth and sixth ball of the 4th over as Delhi’s score read 40/0 after 4.
But Warner turned back to Mohammed Siraj and he struck, removing Samson (24) against the run of play. That was a slower ball and Samson hit that straight to Shikhar Dhawan at cover point. But Samson’s removal did not stop the flow of runs as Nair took the attack on with Rishabh Pant for company.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropping Nair off Siraj’s ball further helped Delhi’s cause as the stand-in skipper went all out and started hitting with regained confidence. He took 16 runs off the very next over off Moises Henriques as he hit two fours after hitting a majestic straight-bat six.
Nair and Pant kept increasing the run-rate as DD’s score read 70/1 after 7 overs with a required rate of 8.92. But just as it looked like Nair would play a captain’s knock, Kaul returned to send back Nair (39) with a knuckle ball. Nair hit it on the up, but that went straight to Bhuvneshwar at long-off. Delhi were pegged back again as the score read 72/2 in the 8th over.
But Pant took control with Shreyas Iyer for company. The two kept hitting the boundaries and picking the timely boundaries till another change in bowling saw Siraj return to the bowling crease and bowl the perfect yorker to send back Pant (34).
As right through the night, this time Iyer took over from where Pant left. Iyer plundered 16 off the very next over from Yuvraj with two huge sixes off the last two balls of the 13th over. Corey Anderson too joined the fun as he hit Kaul for a huge six in the next over.
And once again, just when it looked like Iyer would take Delhi home, Bhuvneshwar came back to the bowling crease to send back the batsman. In one of the softest dismissals in the game, Bhuvi followed Iyer with a slow bouncer and Iyer (33) hit it straight to Siraj at short third-man. Delhi still needed 38 off 24.
Earlier, Karun Nair won the toss and decided to field even though the Kotla wicket is known to turn low and slow as the game progresses and David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan started positively. They kept hitting the boundaries and the score read 49/0 after 5 overs and Nair turned to Mohammed Shami.
And Shami struck immediately as he removed Warner (30) with a peach of a yorker. It was full and on the off-stump and Warner couldn’t do much with that one as Kane Williamson came in to join Dhawan.
But three overs later, just when it looked like they were going to take the attack to the Delhi bowlers, Nair now turned to Amit Mishra and he answered the skipper’s call by dismissing Dhawan (28). The opener looked to sweep and only managed to get a top-edge, for Shreyas Iyer to complete an easy catch.
Yuvraj Singh came in to join Williamson and once again, a change in bowling resulted in a wicket and this time it was Shami who had returned for his second over and sent back Williamson (24). Shami dug it in short and Williamson went for the pull, only to find Chris Morris at the square-leg boundary.
With the score reading 92/3 in the 12th over, Moises Henriques came in to join Yuvraj and that was the end of the joy for the Daredevils. Yuvraj eased into the innings and started executing shots synonymous with the Yuvi in his prime. He cut, pulled and drove on the up and with elan.
Things worsened for Delhi as Sanju Samson dropped a regulation catch off Morris’ bowling at the mid-wicket fence. Yuvraj went for the pull and Samson looked to be right under the ball, before he floored it. Yuvraj picked two having got a life on 29.
The onslaught continued in the last two overs as Hyderabad first picked 13 off the 19th over from Morris, with Yuvi hitting 10 of those to register his 25th T20 fifty. And they carried on to pick another 19 in the last over off Rabada as Yuvraj picked 16 off those with vintage shots all around the park. The best one though was held for the last ball of the innings as he hit Rabada right back over his head for a one bounce four.
Sunrisers Hyderabad finished on 185/3 in their 20 overs with 59 coming off the last 4 overs with Yuvraj leading the charge in Henriques’ company.