Delhi puts a spanner in Pune’s works

Karun-Pant combo comes good with the bat as Delhi Dardevils beat Rising Pune Supergiant by seven runs to spice up the competition for a play-off berth.

Manoj Tiwary's efforts were not enough as Rising Pune Supergiant suffered a seven-run defeat against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Friday.   -  Sportzpics


A fascinating delivery from Zaheer Khan, a grand throwback to the days when he would set up a batsman, made the evening for the spectators at the Ferozeshah Kotla here. Not to forget the acrobatic finish to a catch by Ben Stokes to dismiss Mohammed Shami which was a glowing testimony to the athleticism that dominates modern cricket.

Rising Pune Supergiant needed a win to ensure a playoff slot. Delhi Daredevils had nothing but pride at stake, a win in front of its home supporters to overcome the embarrassment of earlier defeats. The seven-run triumph for Daredevils now means that Pune faces a must-win situation in its final encounter.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball-details

There were some intense moments and some average, as a near-packed house was treated to entertaining stuff on a pitch that invited the batsmen to play their strokes. They also saw a rare sight — that of M.S. Dhoni getting run out and looking a pale shadow of the finisher that we have known him to be.

Daredevils won a good toss but opting for the first strike did not quite meet the team’s expectations. Sanju Samson’s stroll in the park ended in a run out and Shreyas Iyer picked the wrong ball to have a swing. But Daredevils prospered on the strength of the 74-run partnership off 40 balls between Rishabh Pant and Karun Nair.

In a calculated assault, Karun (64) and Pant (36) picked the vacant spots with ease and the spectators roared at their stroke-making abilities. Strangely the crowd roared when they got out too. Their dismissal gave Pune just the window to crawl back into the game and Steve Smith was not one to let go the chance.

The field placements dried up the runs and Daredevils succumbed to desperation in its ranks. The tempo was lost and Pune stayed in the game. Stokes knocking the ball back even as he overstepped the boundary and returning to gleefully pouch it was a lively moment. What if it was the penultimate ball of the Daredevils’ innings!

Two balls later came the Zaheer Khan act — a lethal ball that whistled past the defensive bat of Ajinkya Rahane, who had no clue about the line and length of the first ball he faced. Smith and Manoj Tiwary directed the chase and the audience loved it. It loved it even more when Smith perished to an ambitious pull off a Shahbaz Nadeem delivery that hastened off the pitch — wrong shot off a good ball.

Pune’s pursuit of the target was staggered and revolved around the punishing blade of Stokes and the fortuitous effort of Tiwary. Neither worked and Daredevils ended with smiles in its camp even as Tiwary’s two sixes off Pat Cummins in the last over almost spoilt the home team’s party.

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