NEW DELHI: An early blow can have two possible outcomes. It can be a wake-up call. Or, you can get dejected and go down. The second was the case with Rising Pune Supergiant, as Delhi Daredevils registered a seven-run victory at Feroz Shah Kotla on Friday.
For Pune, that early blow came when Zaheer Khan rolled back memories with a swinging delivery to stun Ajinkya Rahane. India’s Test star had no reply to the beauty as his middle stump went missing first ball.
Steve Smith’s could still have assured a place in the playoffs with a win.
Somehow, they were not able to. The chase suffered another blow when Zaheer sent back Rahul Tripathi in the fifth over, with a slow off-cutter. Tripathi thought there was no contact when he tried to cut, even Zaheer thought the same.
But wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant appealed. As the umpire raised his hand, the crowd erupted.
Shahbaz Nadeem took the most crucial wicket, when he got Smith in the 10th over. A flat delivery tricked the Aussie as he was struck in front of off stump.
But Pune were in it when Stokes was batting with Manoj Tiwary. Aided by dropped catches, this partnership looked good to take Pune to destination.
That was when Mohammad Shami made his presence felt, by getting rid of Stokes. MS Dhoni was run out and the chase faltered.
Delhi did not have a great start. Sanju Samson paid for a poor decision on Karun Nair’s part in the first over. Jaydev Unadkat’s good length delivery was directed towards point with Stokes lurking. With no chance of a run, Karun signalled for one. Stoke made it look easy as the visitors got their first breakthrough.
Combining with Nair, Pant helped Delhi reach 54 at the end of power play. Nair chipped in from time to time with some classy boundaries.
But Adam Zampa got Pant in the ninth over. Their 74-run partnership for the third wicket helped Delhi reach 83 after nine overs.
Marlon Samuels hit two sixes off Shardul Thakur, but fell for 27 off 21 balls. Nair was looking for someone to have a partnership with again. That did not happen. Corey Anderson and Pat Cummins got out in a gap of two overs. Amit Mishra, Shami and Nadeem added a total of 15 runs. In the end, they managed to finish on a high.