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June 21 2018
IPL 2018: Daredevils spring a reality check on Super Kings
19 May 2018

The Delhi bowlers apply the choke brilliantly after the batsmen put up a decent total

The moment Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked out to the crease, the Ferozeshah Kotla stands lit up with flashlights. Even before, the 27-000 plus crowd was largely sporting yellow jerseys, most of them bearing his name. Delhi Daredevils could be forgiven if it thought it was playing an away game against Chennai Super Kings on Friday.

That perhaps helped the host, out of reckoning and playing for pride, to finally break the losing streak with a 34-run victory, only its fourth this season. And, for once, it was the team’s bowlers who stood up to be counted after the team managed a decent 162-run total.

More than the regular wickets, it was the run-choke that did the job.

 

IPL 2018: Daredevils spring a reality check on Super Kings

DD rarely allowed the opposition to score more than 10 runs an over and, barring a brief period when Ambati Rayudu clobbered the bowlers — including 22 off Avesh Khan in the sixth over with three sixes and a four — the CSK batsmen struggled to find the gaps.

The rest faltered against the spin duo of Amit Mishra and Nepal youngster Sandeep Lamichhane. The scoring plummeted and never picked up.

Earlier, DD managed a respectable score, thanks mainly to some lusty hitting by Vijay Shankar and Harshal Patel in the last four overs that yielded 62 runs. 26 of them came in the final one off Dwayne Bravo with four sixes — three of them by Harshal with a straight bat. That Bravo was given the ball was itself surprising given the fact that he had been quite expensive till then and, more importantly, the best CSK bowler on the day — Lungi Ngidi — still had an over left.

Till then, DD batsmen seemed to have decided not to trouble the scorers much. Ngidi dismissed Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant in one over and the host never recovered from the setback. Prithvi Shaw got a life in the fourth over and wasted it a ball later, Shreyas continued to stretch and drag with little rewards, Glenn Maxwell's wretched outings continued — he hasn’t managed to score a total 150 runs so far this season — and Abhishek Sharma got a reality check after the last match’s heroics. Barring a few big hits by Pant, there was little application from the host.

Dhoni had said after winning the toss that the pitch would deteriorate later in the day but it was a chance he was willing to take. For a team with little at stake, this was clearly the best time to experiment in a difficult situation.

The result wasn’t in its favour but Dhoni would hope his aim of learning and improving was achieved.

 

 

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