Delhi Daredevils managed to find some momentum in the tournament with their second consecutive win as they defeated Kings XI Punjab by a healthy margin of 51 runs. Electing to bat first in an evening game, Delhi didn’t just surprise at the toss but ended up with a daunting 188 on the board, which appeared to be a little too much at half-time itself. Once KXIP lost two wickets up front, it was too much work to be done for the likes of Eoin Morgan and Glenn Maxwell, and following their back to back dismissals, the chase fell flat with KXIP managing only 137 for 9 in their 20 overs.
How Zaheer Khan reversed the trend of the ongoing IPL?When Zaheer Khan led the Delhi Daredevils in the last season, his style of setting the field for not just himself but all his bowlers, revealed a different side to him, something nobody was aware of. His astute thinking and an uncanny knack of staying ahead of the opposition was in full flow in their home game against KXIP too. While ten teams have won chasing in this edition of the IPL thus far, Zaheer surprised everyone by going against the popular choice by opting to bat first.
Daredevils are already without the services of two of their star batsmen, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock, and for a lineup so heavily reliant on its Indian batsmen, Zaheer showed tremendous faith. It paid off, but with Sam Billings and Corey Anderson inflicting the damage at the top and lower half of the batting order.
The Common Tripping Point For Both SidesIn an interesting unfolding of events, both Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab failed to sustain the momentum for too long in their innings. First, Delhi Daredevils, who put up a breezy fifty-plus for the opening stand, lost two back to back wickets of Sanju Samson and Karun Nair. If that wasn’t enough, they lost Shreyas Iyer and Sam Billings in consecutive overs to lose the plot again. However, Corey Anderson came to their rescue to help DD raise their stocks to 188.
KXIP followed the same trajectory, losing their first two wickets in consecutive overs of Shahbaz Nadeem. Sticking to the same trend, when KXIP couldn’t have afforded one wicket, forget two, they lost Eoin Morgan and Glenn Maxwell in one over after the other, to head downhill in the run chase. Axar Patel did tonk a brisk 44 but that was too late in the day.
Who set the tone for Delhi’s Daredevilry?After Samson announced his grand return on the big stage, becoming the first batsman to knock a hundred this season, it was only imperative that the focus would be on him. Although, he started off with a bang, hitting a couple of boundaries in the opening over itself, Sam Billings’s approach came across as a surprise. While Samson had two fours to his name by the end of the first over, Billings went on a boundary-hitting spree, collecting six fours in the span of four overs. Billings did not hold himself back despite the fall of Samson after the powerplay and went on to top score for the Daredevils with a 40-ball 55. As Delhi lost wickets in pairs, it was Billings’s contribution that eventually turned out to be a big difference.
Nadeem is unarguably one of the best spinners (not just left-arm) in the country and his numbers in the domestic arena don’t defy that (51 wickets in 2015-16 Ranji season, 56 in 2016-17). . The confidence with which Zaheer has tossed the ball to him to open the bowling for them, goes to show the immaculate control the former brings to the table. Nadeem returned the results immediately, removing Manan Vohra in his first over. In his next over, he sent Wriddhiman Saha back too. These two early wickets fell completely in sync with the order of the day where even Delhi had lost wickets in pairs. These two scalps set the tone for Delhi’s dominance as they compiled a comprehensive 51-run win
Where do the teams go from here?Delhi Daredevils will wait for Kolkata Knight Riders, who are certain to pose a tough challenge after their back to back wins in the last couple of games.
Kings XI Punjab have had a fair bit of travelling to do for their past couple of games and will now head to Hyderabad to face off against the defending champions. Having started off the campaign with two wins, KXIP have lost their path and would look to redeem themselves in their next away game before they head back to Indore for their last game at that venue.
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 188/6 in 20 overs (Sam Billings 55, Corey Anderson 39*; Varun Aaron 2-45, KC Cariappa 1-23) beat Kings XI Punjab 137/9 in 20 overs (Axar Patel 44, David Miller 22; Chris Morris 3-23, Shahbaz Nadeem 2-13) by 51 runs.