What could have been a truly memorable victory for Delhi Daredevils turned out to be a heartbreaking loss to Gujarat Lions.
Daredevils, that did the catching up for the better part of the match, fell short by one run after Chris Morris almost single-handedly changed the course of the match, first with the ball and then with the bat.
Morris’s game-changing two for 32 followed by a blistering 32-ball unbeaten 82 inclusive of eight sixes and four boundaries almost won Delhi the match that looked in Gujarat’s grasp.
Chasing 173 to win and tottering at 16 for three, Daredevils ended at 171 for five after failing to get four runs off the last ball bowled by Dwayne Bravo.
If Daredevils could come so close, they owe it to the South African duo. Morris and Duminy added 87 runs for the fifth wicket to raise Daredevils’ hopes against all odds. The 17th over, bowled by Dwayne Smith, saw Morris hit a hat-trick of sixes to take his innings tally to eight and reach his 50 off just 17 deliveries.
With 21 runs off the over, the equation read 29 runs off 18 deliveries. Though Duminy fell soon, the presence of Morris kept Daredevils in the hunt.
In the last over, Daredevils needed 14 to win off Bravo. Morris and Pawan Negi managed 10 off five deliveries. Off the last, bowled in the blockhole, Morris could only manage two runs and left Gujarat victor by the narrowest of margins.
The all-round effort of Morris pushed to the background the riot caused by Lions openers Brendon McCullum and Smith who smashed 112 runs in 10.4 overs before Daredevils dramatically restricted Lions to 172 for six.
Fielding by choice is clearly the flavour of the season. But Zaheer Khan’s decision to bowl to Smith and McCullum proved his undoing. Fresh from blasting Royal Challengers Bangalore attack to smithereens, the duo put 50 on the board off just 3.5 overs.
By the time the six-over PowerPlay ended, the score read 71 without loss — a shade inferior to 72 for one scored against RCB.
It all started with Zaheer’s opening over from which Smith collected four boundaries as 18 runs came off it.
Thereafter, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and Zaheer went for two sixes each in the next three overs as the Lions posted the fastest 50 of the season. The introduction of Morris failed to slow down the Lions as McCullum hit him for a six and four to take the score to 63 from five overs.
The two duly completed their half-centuries — McCullum off 27 deliveries, one more than what Smith needed. After 10 overs, the score was 110 without loss but the next 10 saw only 62 runs for the loss of six wickets!
Gujarat Lions: Dwayne Smith lbw b Tahir 53 (30b, 5x4, 3x6), Brendon McCullum b Morris 60 (36b, 6x4, 3x6), Suresh Raina c Karun b Morris 2 (5b), Dinesh Karthik c Duminy b Tahir 19 (17b, 1x4, 1x6), Ravindra Jadeja c de Kock b Duminy 4 (7b), Ishan Kishan c Duminy b Tahir 2 (6b), Dwayne Bravo (not out) 7 (6b), James Faulkner (not out) 22 (13b, 2x4); Extras (lb-2, w-1): 3; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 172.
Fall of wickets: 1-112 (Smith), 2-116 (McCullum), 3-117 (Raina), 4-130 (Jadeja), 5-142 (Ishan), 6-142 (Karthik).
Delhi Daredevils bowling: Zaheer Khan 4-0-48-0, Shahbaz Nadeem 4-0-32-0, Chris Morris 4-0-35-2, Amit Mishra 3-0-27-0, Imran Tahir 4-0-24-3, J-P. Duminy 1-0-4-1.
Delhi Daredevils: Quinton de Kock c Raina b Kulkarni 5 (11b, 1x4), Sanju Samson c Faulkner b Kulkarni 1 (6b), Karun Nair c Tambe b Kulkarni 9 (7b, 1x4), Jean-Paul Duminy c & b Bravo 48 (43b, 3x4, 1x6), Rishabh Pant c Praveen b Faulkner 20 (17b, 2x4), Chris Morris (not out) 82 (32b, 4x4, 8x6), Pawan Negi (not out) 3 (4b); Extras (lb-2, w-1): 3; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 171.
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Samson), 2-12 (de Kock), 3-16 (Karun), 4-57 (Pant), 5-144 (Duminy).
Gujarat Lions bowling: Praveen Kumar 4-0-13-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 4-1-19-3, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-40-1, Suresh Raina 2-0-17-0, Dwayne Smith 2-0-26-0, James Faulkner 2-0-23-1, Ravindra Jadeja 1-0-14-0, Pravin Tambe 1-0-17-0.
Toss: Delhi Daredevils.
Lions won by one run.