If it was the pair of Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson that had choked the life out of GL in the last meeting, it was Shreyas Iyer’s sublime 96-run innings that helped DD register a 2-wicket victory over the same opponent after Aaron Finch’s 69 propelled the hosts to 195 runs in the first innings.
Brief Scores:Gujarat Lions 195/5 (Aaron Finch 69, Dinesh Karthik 40; Amit Mishra 1/27, Mohammed Shami 1/36) lost to Delhi Daredevils 153/6 (Shreyas Iyer 96, Karun Nair 30; James Faulkner 2/39, Dhawal Kulkarni 1/30) by 2 wickets.
In the dead-rubber match, Zaheer Khan, after winning the toss, asked the Suresh Raina-led Gujarat Lions to make the first use of the strip at the Green Park Stadium, where the chasing team had won each of the previous three T20 games. Daredevils made one change to the team, bringing in Carlos Brathwaite for Kagiso Rabada. The Lions, who had a consolation win against Kings XI Punjab in their previous game, fielded an unchanged squad.
Ishan Kishan leads Gujarat to a good start
Gujarat’s innings started with a flurry of boundaries off Ishan Kishan’s bat as the left-handed batsman was harsh on anything on his body and used the pull shot to good effect, finding and clearing the leg-side boundaries with ease. Even though Dwayne Smith, Gujarat’s hero in the last match against Punjab, failed to replicate the same performance, the Indian youngster didn’t hold back and kept firing on all cylinders to lead Gujarat to 50 runs within the powerplay overs. But after hitting a measured 34 runs, Amit Mishra got the better of him off by a googly, as Kishan could only carve the ball straight at Zaheer Khan standing at the short fine-leg. But the joy was short-lived as the new man on the crease, Aaron Finch, started taking on the Delhi bowlers from the outset, and in the company of Dinesh Karthik, he took the team to 91/3 in 10 overs.
Finch carnage pushes Delhi to the brink
Finch’s hitting was clean and classical and he took a particular liking to the pacers and held back against the spinners. Karthik supported the Aussie well and managed to get 40 runs under his belt before being dismissed for 40 in the 17th over. Ravindra Jadeja joined Finch in the middle and chose the right moment to show his big-hitting abilities as the hosts appeared to be headed for a good total. But for Finch, there were no half-measures as he hit Carlos Brathwaite for a six on a fuller ball before falling victim to Mohammed Shami in the penultimate over. Even though the Aussie was dismissed he had done enough to put his side well on top of the game. James Faulkner and Jadeja then scored 12 off the last over to take the home side to a good first total of 195/5 in 20 overs.
Iyer-Nair restore parity after Sangwan magic
Despite their inconsistent performances, it still should have been an achievable chase for Delhi Daredevils when Sanju Samson and Karun Nair walked out, but the pressure started telling when Samson was cleaned up by Pradeep Sangwan in the second over. Delhi's hopes would have spiked when Rishabh Pant joined Nair, but the youngster failed to recreate his 97-run innings against GL earlier in the season after a direct hit from Raina saw him take the long walk back to the dressing room. Watching the team slid down a slippery slope, Shreyas Iyer took the matter to his own head and was hoping for some assistance from the other end. He got the able ally in the form of Karun Nair as the duo took Delhi to 64/2 at the end of the powerplay. However, even though Delhi had reached 92 at the midway point of the innings, Nair and Marlon Samuels had already made their way back to the dressing room.
Iyer wages a lone battle to take Delhi home
With the dangerous pair of Iyer and Corey Anderson on strike, neutrals would have expected the fireworks to be unleashed but the trio of Basil Thampi, Jadeja, and Dhawal Kulkarni diligently stuck to a nagging line and didn’t allow the duo room to free their arms and aim for the skies. Sure enough, the required rate climbed to 12 runs an over with five overs to go. But Iyer had different plans in mind as he and Pat Cummins collected 54 runs off the next three overs to get the equation down to 23 off 18 balls. While Basil