Against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the previous game, four magical final overs when Delhi Daredevils conceded just 23 runs brought them roaring into the match with Quinton de Kock’s century helping them overhaul the lower target.
Back on home turf, Delhi bowlers once again applied the choke at the death, this time against Mumbai Indians, to seal their third straight win.
Until the 13th over, with skipper Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya together, MI were cruising. The two had added 41 runs and the defending champions required 62 runs from 45 balls. However, four deliveries into the 13th over, skipper Zaheer Khan produced a superb throw to run out Pandya.
The left-handed Pandya had attacked both the leg spinners and it was getting difficult for Zaheer to counter that. Once Pandya fell, Amit Mishra, who took two crucial wickets, and Imran Tahir brought Delhi back into the game with tight bowling.
Applying the brakes
Rohit anchored the innings on a slow Feroz Shah Kotla pitch, but even he couldn’t break free in the death overs as Delhi pulled off a 10-run victory.
Mumbai, chasing 165 to win, were 52 in six overs after Rohit and Ambati Rayadu had hit seven fours off two consecutive overs bowled by left-arm spinner Pawan Negi and Mohammed Shami. Zaheer turned to the spinners to slow things down. Mishra conceded just five runs in his first over and Tahir gave away three in the next. Under pressure, Rayudu attacked Mishra and was bowled off the googly. The 53-run partnership had been broken.
However, with Krunal in, the right-left combination made things difficult even for the pacers. But once Zaheer caught Pandya short, the next five overs turned the match in favour of Delhi.
Jos Buttler could not get Chris Morris away and Mishra trapped the England wicketkeeper with another googly. Tahir didn’t take a wicket but he and Mishra together conceded just 53 runs in eight overs. In this edition, Mishra has delivered whenever Zaheer has turned to him. Against Kings XI Punjab, he took the main wickets of Shaun Marsh, David Miller and Glenn Maxwell.
Daredevils are making it a habit to choke the rivals. Bowling first, Morris and Shami had done that against RCB after Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers had threatened to take the game away. Just 23 runs were conceded in the last four overs in Bengaluru. This time Morris and Zaheer tamed Mumbai.
With 42 required off 18 deliveries, and Rohit well-set after scoring his second consecutive half-century, Mumbai had the edge. But boundaries were hard to come by. There were none between Krunal Pandya’s four off Zaheer off the first ball of the 12th over and Rohit’s four off Morris’ last delivery of the 18th over.
After collecting six boundaries in the powerplay, Rohit couldn’t get one in 38 balls before hitting Morris. With 21 needed off the last over, he hit a six and brought the equation down to 14 runs off 3 balls. But his run out after a collision with Hardik Pandya next ball attempting a second run ruined Mumbai’s hopes.