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Nair repays Daredevils' faith

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Agarkar: Atypical Kotla pitch makes Nair's knock special (2:44)

Ajit Agarkar and Brad Hogg laud Karun Nair for his measured fifty, which eventually proved the difference between the two teams (2:44)

Star turn

Before this match, Karun Nair had managed only 336 runs in 22 innings across formats since his triple-hundred in the Chennai Test against England last year. Despite his prolonged lean patch, Nair had the backing of the Delhi Daredevils management. Case in point: he has played each of Daredevils' 13 matches this season, and even led the team in three matches when regular captain Zaheer Khan was injured. Nair finally hit form and repaid the faith with 64 off 45 balls, which underpinned Daredevils' 168 for 8. The total would prove seven runs too many for Rising Pune Supergiant.

After choosing to bat, Daredevils could not score a boundary in the first three overs. Then, as if a switch had been flicked on, Daredevils hammered six boundaries in the next two overs, Nair accounting for five of them.

Nair was starved of the strike in the middle overs, but he held his own, and brought up a fifty off 37 balls in the 16th over. He shifted gears in the end overs, smacking Jaydev Unadkat for two fours, before holing out off Ben Stokes. On a sluggish surface where three other batsmen faced 25 or more balls and had a strike-rate of less than 135, Nair ended with a strike-rate of 142.22.

The wow moment

His first boundary. Even before Washington Sundar delivered a non-turning offbreak, Nair jumped across, got outside the line of the stumps, and shovel-swept the ball in the air between square leg and short fine leg. His knowing there was no protection in the deep was as impressive as the execution.

Stats that matter

  • Only 29% of the balls Nair faced today were dots. Before today, 50% of the balls he had faced this season had been dots. Nair ran 19 ones and three twos.

  • Nair was particularly strong through midwicket, collecting 23 of his 64 runs in this region

What they said

"After we lost the first two wickets, I just had to play the 20 overs. I played normal cricketing shots. The wicket was stopping a bit when they [Rising Pune Supergiant] hit a hard length, but otherwise it was a good wicket."
Karun Nair on how he constructed his innings