A maiden T20 hundred from Sanju Samson and a blistering unbeaten 38, off just nine balls, from Chris Morris, led Delhi Daredevils to their first 200-plus total since April 2012. It was more than enough to give them their first win of the season, as Rising Pune Supergiants – who were without Steven Smith, their regular captain and best batsman – crumbled in the face of a steadily mounting asking rate, folding for 108 in 16.1 overs.

The efforts of Samson and Morris – helped by some not particularly clever death bowling from Ashok Dinda, Adam Zampa and Ben Stokes – brought Daredevils 76 runs off their last four overs. It was the third-best last-four tally in the IPL, behind two Royal Challengers Bangalore blitzes, and it undid the control Rising Pune’s bowlers – Imran Tahir in particular – had exerted through the middle overs, and ensured they would be chasing 206 rather than, say, 184.

Samson walked in after Daredevils lost Aditya Tare in the second over and began with a flurry of boundaries against Rising Pune’s quicks, piercing the field with a series of drives and punches through point and cover. Capitalising on the width given by Deepak Chahar and Dinda, Samson scored 31 off his first 14 balls, hitting six fours in that time. With Sam Billings similarly positive at the other end, Daredevils scored 62 for 1 in the Powerplay – their best effort since scoring 64 against Deccan Chargers in May 2012.

The spreading of the field and the introduction of slower bowlers – Tahir, Zampa and Rajat Bhatia – slowed Samson down. He didn’t manage a single boundary as he went from 31 off 14 to 54 off 45, with Rishabh Pant – who smacked 31 off 22 – assuming the dominant role in a third-wicket partnership worth 53.

Rising Pune’s bowlers had sent down a number of freebies to get Daredevils’ innings going. Daredevils’ bowlers did not return the favour. There were only four boundaries in Rising Pune’s Powerplay overs, and three wickets. Two fell to Zaheer Khan’s slower ball, and one – the debutant Rahul Tripathi – to a fast and accurate bouncer from Morris.

With the required rate nearing 12 an over, Faf du Plessis and Stokes fell in the next two overs, trying to manufacture shots. From 54 for 5, there would be no way back for Rising Pune.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.