“We have been consistent with our bowling but not on the positive side,” reckoned MS Dhoni after winning the toss. His bowlers seemed keen to prove him wrong as they came up with a disciplined performance to lay the platform for Rising Pune Supergiants’ 19-run win (D/L/S method) against Delhi Daredevils.
Batting first, Daredevils could only muster a total of 121 for six as Ashok Dinda (3-20) and Adam Zampa (3-21), with help from other bowlers, kept the opposition batsmen in a tight leash throughout their innings. In reply, Ajinkya Rahane scored an unbeaten 42* before rain stopped play twice, with the second interruption leading to Supergiants’ victory.
While the victory ended Supergiants’ winless run in home games and helped them vacate the bottom spot in the points table, the result had far more serious ramifications for the Daredevils. They remain at the sixth spot with 12 points from 12 games and their qualification for the playoffs now looks tougher than before.
Daredevils, who were asked to bat first, made three changes, bringing in Shreyas Iyer, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mohammed Shami for Mayank Agarwal, Imran Tahir and Shahbaz Nadeem. Deepak Chahar, the former Rajasthan Royals seamer, was playing his first game for Rising Pune Supergiants, in place of Murugan Ashwin.
It wasn’t a start Daredevils would have hoped for as the openers were kept quiet for the first couple of overs before Ashok Dinda trapped the in-form Quinton de Kock in front of the stumps with a quick delivery that swung in. Not only did Dinda pick up a crucial wicket up front, he also finished the over with a wicket-maiden. Nair and Iyer struck a few boundaries, but the latter’s poor form continued as he top-edged a pull off Dinda to depart for eight. A sedate start and two early wickets meant that Daredevils could only manage 28 runs in the powerplay, their lowest while batting first in this IPL.
Thisara Perera and Irfan Pathan bowled in tandem and continued to keep things tight, making Nair and Sanju Samson graft for their runs. The Kerala batsman, trying to up the ante, came down the track to Adam Zampa in the 10th over, but was stumped as Daredevils slipped to 49 for three at the half-way mark. Dhoni, by effecting the dismissal, topped the chart for most stumpings in the IPL.
Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced in the 12th over and he had Rishabh Pant in trouble as the pitch was offering some grip and turn. Pant was also in two minds against Zampa, and perished while trying to go over the top and finding Perera at long-off. Zampa soon dismissed Nair for 41 to leave Dardevils in the lurch.
Spinners enjoyed a field day as even the likes of JP Duminy and Chris Morris found it hard to free their arms against the spinners, who applied the brakes so firmly that the Daredevils bus appeared to be going no where in the death overs. Zampa ended a fine spell with three wickets while Ashwin, despite conceding 10 runs in his final over, completed an economical performance, with figures of none for 23.
Duminy and Morris’s run-a-ball partnership of 23 came to an end when the former fell to Dinda in the penultimate over and the pacer too ended up with good figures.
Morris hit the first six of the innings in the final over as Daredevils collected 22 runs off it to go past the 120-run mark.
Contrary to how the Daredevils batsmen went about their game, the Supergiants openers ensured a a brisk start. Nathan Coulter-Nile erred in his line and length and was made to pay by Usman Khawaja and Ajinkya Rahane, who managed a boundary each off the Australian pacer in the second over.
Zaheer Khan too had an ordinary start, with Khawaja finding the fence three times against him in the third over as Supergiants raced away in the chase. Morris struck in the fourth over to end the partnership as Khawaja, looking to drive away from his body, sliced the ball to Iyer at point. The wicket and a couple of tight overs meant that the scoring rate went down, but Supergiants were still looking comfortably-placed, ending the powerplay at 44 for one.
Apart from his helmet being knocked out courtesy a fiery bouncer from Coulter-Nile, George Bailey was rare troubled by the Dardevils bowlers, while Rahane was at ease too as Supergiants went past the fifty-run mark in the eighth over. Capitalising on the quick start, Rahane and Bailey went after loose deliveries to forged a strong stand.
Just when the cruise mode was on for Supergiants, the first rain intermission came along. Despite a 55-minute delay, good work from the groundsmen ensured overs were not lost when play resumed. The break did not hinder Rahane’s intent, as he went after Shami, punching him for a boundary before going over long-on for his first six. Just three overs later, the clouds opened up again and the Supergiants were adjudged winners based on the D/L/S method.