There are days when one’s hard work inspires another. The saying went well with Delhi Daredevils leg-spinner Amit Mishra, whose four-wicket haul (in three overs) against Kings XI Punjab broke the visitors’ back. This was after Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan’s miserly three overs laid the foundation.
Delhi went on to beat KXIP by eight wickets to record their first victory this season.
Playing his 100th IPL game, the Haryana leggie couldn’t have asked for better figures against a side whose middle order is rated one of the best this season. While credit has to be given to Mishra for the heart he showed against the likes of Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Glen Maxwell and Manan Vohra, it was Zaheer who encouraged him by setting attacking fields.
With KXIP 37/1 in six overs, Zaheer was aware the opposition would go after the spinners and that this was the time to pick a few wickets. It was as if he planned and Mishra delivered. The previous day, Mishra had said team mentor Rahul Dravid’s message to him was to focus on picking wickets without caring about leaking runs.
Mishra flighted the first ball to Marsh, and the Aussie southpaw jumped out only to be foxed by the break and dip.
Next up was Miller. He had played just nine balls when Zaheer called in a slip and short leg for the KXIP skipper. The South African was clearly being urged to go for a lofted stroke against Mishra.
The leggie began on a positive note by beating Miller first ball but in his second over, the South African planted his leg and went for a slog sweep. Mishra changed his length and Miller was trapped in front.
Against Maxwell, the plan was simple --- cover the leg-side boundary and urge him to go over cover. Against India a few months back, Maxwell had been dismissed twice trying to clear the cover region, once to Yuvraj Singh as well.
Mishra was aware of his weakness. He tossed the ball up and the Australian fell in the trap one more time. As Maxwell half-chipped-half-lofted to Carlos Brathwaite at long-off, KXIP’s backbone had been broken in the space of 10 balls.
With Vohra at the other end, Mishra kept mixing up his deliveries and waited for him to make a mistake. A googly was all it took to trigger the dismissal as Mishra bowled it slightly wide of the crease and it crashed into Vohra’s stumps.
Mishra’s day at work was over in just three overs and it gave Zaheer a chance to test his other options. The Delhi skipper had bowled like the Zaheer of old and completed his quota by conceding just 14 runs.
Chasing 112, the Delhi batsmen had an enjoyable time with Quinton de Kock helping himself to an unbeaten half century (59) and Sanju Samson (33) playing the supporting role.