DD v RPS Player of the Match: Karun Nair

The Karnataka batsman scored his first half-century this season to enable a victory for Delhi Daredevils on Friday.

Karun Nair raises his bat after scoring his first half-century this IPL season.   -  AP

The fast-paced Indian Premier League demands acceleration from batsmen, but there are more considerations than the ubiquitous ‘see ball, hit ball’ strategy. The accomplished Karun Nair played a crafty yet effective Twenty20 knock on Friday to score a nicely paced half-century - his first in the season - and lead Delhi Daredevils to a total it eventually defended well. Nair is an all-round batsman with a variety of strokes in his arsenal; that his 64 was crucial to his team’s fortunes in the game reveals the compatibility of his style of batting to the jazzy and breathless game of Twenty20.

For one, he was slow to start. He did not score a single boundary in the first three overs of the innings, extracting three singles and a double off the 10 balls he faced. He targetted Washington Sundar in the fourth over, playing a sweep and a mild slog to collect two boundaries, before utilising the pace of Ben Stokes in the next over to get three more.

His innings up and running, he struck two more boundaries in the seventh and eighth overs, punishing deliveries with width. And then, he took a backseat until the business end. After churning out two more fours, off Jaydev Unadkat, in the 18th over, Nair tried to be belligerent and was promptly dismissed.

There wasn’t a single six in his knock. All his boundaries were either through backward point or through mid-on and mid-wicket. Daredevils did not reach a gigantic total, but it was enough to yield it a victory.

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