Delhi Daredevils v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017, Delhi May 12, 2017

Delhi keep Pune waiting for playoff spot

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Delhi Daredevils 168 for 8 (Nair 64, Unadkat 2-29, Stokes 2-31) beat Rising Pune Supergiant 161 for 7 (Tiwary 60, Zaheer 2-25) by seven runs

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 05:04
Hogg: It was a big choke from Rising Pune Supergiant

Delhi Daredevils have, over the years, perfected the art of the bizarre, and usually that leads them to lose unloseable matches. On Friday, however, they magicked a way to defend a total of 168 even though Steven Smith appeared in top form and Ben Stokes looked like he was one hit away from finishing the game.

Rising Pune Supergiant needed 91 off 60 balls with seven wickets in hand. They brought that down to 52 off the last five overs, and then, were just shut down. Only three boundaries came in the slog overs as a disciplined bowling attack led by the street-smart Zaheer Khan secured a memorable victory and left the opposition unsure of their place in the playoffs.

A Powerplay of two halves

At the toss, both captains said they wanted to bat, even though only once in four IPL seasons has that led to a victory at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Daredevils' efforts to defy those stats were off to a terrible start. Sanju Samson was run-out in the first over and Shreyas Iyer caught behind in the third. The score was 11 for 2.

Rising Pune then turned to Washington Sundar because he has the second-best economy rate (7.35) among the spinners to have bowled at least 50 balls in the Powerplay. But those numbers meant nothing to Karun Nair. All he knew was he was a superb sweeper of the ball and fine leg was up inside the circle. That was the first of nine boundaries in 18 balls.

Rishabh Pant, too, received preferential treatment from the bowlers. He had come into the match making 190 of his 321 runs this season on the leg side and that's exactly where he found 32 of his 36 runs on Sunday, including four fours and two sixes.

The squeeze

While Nair and Pant were together, the lowest a full over went for was nine runs. But once the 74-run partnership was broken, Rising Pune regained control. The new batsman Marlon Samuels could make only three runs in his first 10 balls. He fell top-edging to MS Dhoni, who had to run back, jump up, extend his right hand as far as it could go. Such acrobatics weren't necessary to stump Corey Anderson; just fast hands and a sixth sense for when the batsman's back foot lifted up as he toppled over.

All the while the set batsman Nair could only watch from the other end. He faced only 11 deliveries in five overs between the 12th and the 16th. He finished 64 off 45. His team-mates 97 off 75.

The Supergiant's supergiant

If Stokes raised eyebrows by becoming the auction's costliest buy, his performance is making them disappear beyond people's hairlines. Case in point was the catch he took in the final over. The ball was soaring over his head at midwicket, but he positioned himself on the edge of the boundary, leapt back, caught it in mid-air and threw it back up because he was going over the ropes and then came back to take the rebound.

Aside from such remarkable athleticism, there is his power hitting. At 92 for 3, he ran at Daredevils' fastest bowler Pat Cummins and pummeled a one-bounce four to midwicket, launched Marlon Samuels' third ball of the match over long-on and nonchalantly flicked Mohammed Shami for a six over deep square leg.

Peak Daredevilry

It was amid this carnage that a scorching yorker arrived. So good was it that Stokes, despite putting bat to it, had to worry about not being bowled. The next ball changed the game.

Shami ran in looking for the blockhole again. Stokes took a shimmy down the pitch and was surprised by a low full toss. The bat turned in his hand as his loft ended up in long-off's hands.

By the time Dhoni was taking guard for his second delivery the required rate was 12. And before he could get set, he was caught short of his ground by a direct hit. It was only the seventh time in 141 IPL innings that he was run-out.

As badly as Rising Pune choked, the Daredevils bowlers were remarkable. They bowled straight, gave no room and nailed the yorkers. The inherent risk in this plan is if the ball doesn't land where it is supposed to, it can be launched halfway around the world. But the big-hitters were gone, and Manoj Tiwary, as well as he had played for his fifty, wasn't really a threatening presence.

He managed two sixes to start the last over to tempt the Pune fans, but Cummins closed the game out with a slew of 145 kph yorkers.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on May 13, 2017, 13:55 GMT

    Dhoni maybe captain of Ponting's all time XI. However he sure doesnt merit a spot in top XI of any team in curent form, let alone be a captain.

    The Pune management took a smart decision when they removed Dhoni from captaincy this year and appointed Smith. They should ask him to improve his keeping(like Quinton and Saha etc have) and remind him that this is the T20 format, not the Test format :P

  •   cricfan2215715164 on May 13, 2017, 8:10 GMT

    Dhoni captain of Ponting's all-time IPL XI ....he will also be the captain of my side. He brings huge experience and whenever he is at the crease ... you always have a chance of winning the game.

    No surprise at all...since MSD empowered Chennai Super Kings to be the Double winners & Quadruple Runners-up of Indian Premier League. Let`s hope he will do one more wonder in defending Champions Trophy successfully!

  • black_bird on May 13, 2017, 7:02 GMT

    Why blame dhoni?. He was doing absolutely great job. He was going to finish match. But unfortunate run out happened.

  • mahendra1 on May 13, 2017, 6:51 GMT

    Every body knows Rahane is not a T20 and ODI material, he is okay for TEST. Then why BCCI and PSG still giving him opportunity after opportunity, why not others tried.

  • Ravichandranj on May 13, 2017, 5:42 GMT

    The only way out for M S Dhoni is to come in as pinch hitter like Narine.With a technique which was never too good and reduced reflexes he is going to find it difficult to clear a spreadout field.Smith has to make the right choice as captain

  • Smudga on May 13, 2017, 5:39 GMT

    Dump Rahanay and Doni . They are extras right now.

  • karanSEHWAG on May 13, 2017, 5:33 GMT

    "Love thy neighbor" been put to full effect here! Thank you delhi(Filled with 50% Punjabis) for doing us a favor. From a sincere Kings xi fan! Come on maxi, guptill, marsh! Lets the Butter chicken(Punjab) prevail over the Wada pavs(Pune) in the next match!

  • Offensive_cricfan on May 13, 2017, 4:39 GMT

    if pune qualifies for play off....stokes absence will hurt them...they missed great chamce yesterday...hope they will get to spot next match but way KXIP playing it looks hard

  • unknownjohnson on May 13, 2017, 4:38 GMT

    This Washington Sundar seems like he is going to be some player. Only 17 years of age. What a name - What a prospect!

  • ACrickLover on May 13, 2017, 4:36 GMT

    @AJAY6877, that is exactly what i am getting worried, players like dhoni have so much luck and they play well during the crucial matches - like finals, knock out games, second inningses, chasing inningses etc etc. Nothing is better example than dhoni's knock in the 2011 ODI world cup final in which all the hard work was done by players like sachin, yuvraj etc etc and there were reliable rumors going on that dhoni may get dropped from the odi team after the world cup - but then there comes that innings in the final odi against SL and he survives. Unlucky players like sachin, gambir, yuvraj almost always fail in crucial games, otherwise how can you explain after hitting so many runs in the whole tournament and sachin cannot hit even a 50 or at least a 30 in that final match.

    Dhoni is one of those players who has luck during such crucial inningses, and it is nothing to do with handling pressure situations bla bla, it is all hype, it is just some people are more lucky than others

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