Raipur | Delhi Daredevils kept alive their slender hopes of qualifying for the play-offs after Karun Nair guided them to a six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad with a 59-ball unbeaten 83 in a do-or-die Indian Premier League match that went down to the wire here Friday night.
Chasing 159, Daredevils rode on Nair’s knock to secure a last-ball win against the butter-fingered Sunrisers Hyderabad who dropped two easy chances, though Barinder Sran pulled off one of the best catches of the tournament.
After Mustafizur Rahman conceded just five runs in the penultimate over, Daredevils needed 11 off the final six deliveries bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The seamer had a good start, but a composed Nair managed to hit boundaries off the final two deliveries to help Delhi cross the line. Nair hit eight boundaries and three sixes.
Daredevils remained on sixth position with seven wins from 13 games, while Sunrisers stayed at the top despite the reverse.
Daredevils were off to a bad start as they lost Quinton de Kock (2) cheaply in the second over.
The young duo of Karun Nair and Rishabh Pant (32) then shared a 73-run partnership for the second wicket to keep Daredevils in the hunt. Nair and Pant managed to hit the occasional boundaries.
While Sran gave Sunrisers the opening breakthrough, the bowler was hit for two boundaries by Nair in the following over to keep the pressure on him. Nair then clobbered Moises Henriques’s short delivery for a big six over square leg.
At the end of the 10th over, Daredevils were 68 for two, needing 91 runs from 60 balls at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium.
Two overs went without a boundary after that six by Nair till Pant dispatched a short ball from leg-spinner Karn Sharma through the midwicket region. That was the last time Pant would find the fence as he was run out due to a good piece of fielding by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Pant struck three boundaries in his 26-ball knock.
Nair tried to wrest the momentum back by hitting Deepak Hooda’s full toss through midwicket for a four. JP Duminy swept Karn Sharma, and the ball raced to the boundary despite David Warner’s full-length dive.
Nair reached his half century with a single. Luck was on Nair’s side as Warner dropped an easy catch just after the batsman reached his fifty.
Looking for a breakthrough, Mustafizur was brought into the attack by Warner, but Nair sent him through fine leg for a boundary. The Bangladeshi seamer, though, picked up the wicket of Carlos Brathwaite in the penultimate over owing to a brilliant catch by Sran.
Meanwhile, luck smiled on Daredevils one more time as Sunrisers Hyderabad dropped another sitter, this time by Bhuvneshwar. Duminy tried to loft one over mid-off, but could not time it, and Bhuvneshwar got under the ball which then bounced out of his palm. On that occasion, the fortunate batsman was Duminy.
While Duminy got out soon, Nair’s drop proved to be costly as he helped DD inch closer to victory by hitting a couple of sixes.
Earlier, Warner struck yet another half-century to guide Sunrisers Hyderabad to 158 for seven. Sent into bat, skipper Warner led from the front and struck eight boundaries and a six in his 56-ball knock. This was Warner’s eight fifty in the ongoing ninth season of the cash-rich T20 league.
The in-form opener added 46 runs for the first wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (10) before the Indian fell to a brilliant piece of work by Carlos Brathwaite.
As Dhawan hit one towards mid-on, Brathwaite made a diving save off his own bowling and then fired an accurate throw at the striker’s end to run out the batsman who was on the lookout for a quick single.
Deepak Hooda (1), too, was run out while going for what seemed like a needless attempt.
Yuvraj Singh (10) was bowled by Brathwaite as Sunrisers Hyderabad slumped to 66 for three in the 10th over.
Warner tried to forge a partnership with Moises Henriques (10) and added 39 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter was sent back by JP Duminy.
Even as wickets fell around him, Warner stood firm at the other hand and kept finding the ropes. He was especially fluent in the off side to start with and scored a few boundaries in that direction.
However, Sunrisers were dealt a body blow when they lost their captain in the 16th over to leave the side struggling at 117 for five. Brathwaite bowled one short outside off and Warner top-edged to give Amit Mishra an easy catch at third man.
Down the order, Eoin Morgan (10) Naman Ojha made (16 not out) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (12 not out) made useful contributions to help the the team reach a modest total.
Returning to the side, Brathwaite picked up two wickets for 27 runs in his four-over spell, while was one apiece for JP Duminy and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Earlier, Daredevils continued their trend of tinkering with their XI. They made three changes to their line-up that lost to Rising Pune Supergiants.