Riding on Karun Nair’s unbeaten 83, Delhi Daredevils not only beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets but also kept themselves in the hunt for the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
Nair, who was dropped on 51 by Hyderabad skipper David Warner, made the opportunity count as his 59-ball knock guided the team home in what turned out to be a nail-biting affair. His innings was laced with eight hits to the fence and three over it.
Chasing 159, Delhi got off to a poor start losing in-form Quinton de Kock (2) cheaply as incoming batsman Nair and opener Rishabh Pant found the going tough against Hyderabad’s disciplined bowling attack to reach 37 in the powerplay.
Left-arm pacer Barinder Sran, who replaced injured Ashish Nehra in the playing XI, gave Sunrisers the perfect start by taking the key wicket of the South African stumper in the very second over.
Nair and Pant batted sensibly to put on 73 runs for the second wicket before a silly mix-up in the 12th over accounted for the southpaw’s run out for a 26-ball 32 which included three hits to the fence.
Nair, who was joined by South African Jean-Paul Duminy, then went on to score his third half-century of the season before David Warner dropped him off Sran.
Duminy, who also got a life on 17 when Bhuvneswar Kumar dropped a sitter at sweeper cover off Mustafizur Rahman, however, failed to make the opportunity count as Warner made no mistake this time around to latch on to the top edge off Sran.
Nair, who put on 35 runs for the third wicket with Duminy, started to break the shackles as the 24-year-old blasted Sran for two mammoth sixes in the same over.
West Indian power-hitter Carlos Brathwaite, who joined the Rajasthan batsman, was unlucky to perish for a seven-ball 10 off a brilliant flying catch by Sran at third man boundary off Rahman.
Needing 16 off the last 10 balls, young Sanju Samson joined Nair and the duo completed the formalities in style, with Nair hitting consecutive boundaries to seal the deal in the hosts’ favour.
For the visitors, Sran and Rahman were the pick of the bowlers picking two and one wicket respectively.
Earlier, Warner headlined with a fine 73-run knock to pull Sunrisers Hyderabad to 158/7 in their 20 overs.
Hyderabad got off to a decent start after Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan sent them in.
The opening partnership of Shikhar Dhawan and Warner took the score to a promising 46 in six overs.
Warner scored bulk of the runs, receiving most of the strike. He eventually hit eight fours and a six in his 56-ball knock.
But the rhythm was snapped when Dhawan (10) was run out because of some athletic fielding by Carlos Brathwaite. He was the most successful bowler, picking up two wickets for 27 runs of his four overs.
The West Indian stopped the ball with his left hand on his follow through and turned around to knock down the stumps while still on the turf, catching an over enthusiastic Dhawan short of his crease.
That triggered a double break, as four balls later, in the next over, Deepak Hooda (1) was run out.
This time Amit Mishra struck with a direct hit on the non-striker’s end after following Warners push towards short cover.
Warner’s responsibility increased after being involved in two run outs of his partners.
He hoped to put together a solid stand with Yuvraj Singh (10).
But the veteran southpaw ragged a away going balls into his stumps to leave his team 66/3 in 9.3 overs.
Warner completed his half century in the 12th over with a single towards midwicket of Brathwaite.
And celebrated it with a huge six over long-on.
Warner partially resurrected the innings with a 24-ball 39 run fourth wicket partnership with fellow Australian Moises Henriques.
But Henriques (18) was dismissed trying to hit a six, caught at the midwicket boundary in the 14th over, reducing his team at 105/4.
But the most pivotal moment of the innings came when Warner was caught at third man by Mishra off Brathwaite in the 16th over.
Eoin Morgan (14) started brightly but also perished soon. Naman Ojha (16 not out) struck some bold shots to guide the team past 150.
Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 158/7 (David Warner 73, Moises Henriques 18, Carlos Brathwaite 2/27) vs Delhi Daredevils 161/4 (Karun Nair 83, Rishabh Pant 32, Barinder Sran 2/34)