Daredevils roar past Kings XI

Zaheer, Coulter-Nile share six wickets among them to break Punjab outfit

Daredevils roar past Kings XI

 Experience has asserted its presence in this edition of the Indian Premier League. Ashish Nehra and Imran Tahir have been battling for the purple cap and even Brad Hogg has charmed the sundry with his chinaman bowling. Joining them on Friday was Zaheer Khan whose fiery spell spurred Delhi Daredevils to an authoritative nine-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

After his injury-forced absence, lasting a year, it was intriguing to see the Daredevils splurging Rs 4 crore on this seasoned paceman who was also given a mentoring role. In the last seven matches, he cheered for the outfit from the sidelines. His fitness was again doubted. But the 36-year-old quelled those doubts in his first appearance for the Daredevils with inspiring 4-0-17-2. Along with a probing Nathan Coulter Nile (4-20), he rocked Kings XI batting that stuttered to a below-par 118/8 in their 20 overs.

 On their turn, Daredevils chased down the target with 37 balls to spare. Shreyas Iyer and Mayank Agarwal batted in tandem and struck a hundred-run partnership (106) for the first time. The Kings, who had dropped Mitchell Johnson, were left biting their lips as the duo ran amok. Iyer was caught when Daredevils were just near the finishing line. But Saurabh Tiwary, playing his first match, completed the formalities with Agarwal.

The win cemented the place of Kings XI at the bottom of the table while Daredevils have moved up two places to the fourth position. Captain Jean Paul Duminy’s decision to bowl on the double-paced, slow track provided instant rewards. Daredevils took one wicket in each of the first four overs. Zaheer removed both the openers. Virender Sehwag, replacing Murali Vijay, could barely last two balls, his edge caught at point. Zaheer had struck in his second ball. Manan Vohra exited in Zaheer’s next over. The back of the length delivery rose unexpectedly and Vohra, looking to come down the track, poked at it to be caught behind.

score board

KINGS XI PUNJAB: Virender Sehwag c Mathews b Khan 1 (2b), Manan Vohra c Jadhav b Khan 1 (7b), Shaun Marsh lbw Duminy 5 (4b, 1x4), Wriddhiman Saha c Jadhav b Coulter-Nile 3 (8b), David Miller c Tiwary b Coulter-Nile 42 (41b, 4x4, 1x6), George Bailey lbw Mishra 18 (16b, 3x4), Thisara Perera c Tiwary b Coulter-Nile 3 (7b), Axar Patel c Agarwal b Coulter-Nile 22 (26b, 1x6), Shardul Thakur (not out) 7 (6b, 1x4), Anureet Singh (not out) 8 (3b, 1x6), Extras (LB-1, W-7) 8, Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 118.  

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Sehwag), 2-6 (Marsh), 3-10 (Vohra), 4-10 (Saha), 5-37 (Bailey), 6-45 (Perera), 7-102 (Patel), 8-104 (Miller).
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 4-0-17-2, JP Duminy 4-0-15-1, Nathan Coulter-Nile 4-0-20-4, Amit Mishra 2-0-10-1, Angelo Mathews 3-0-19-0, Imran Tahir 3-0-36-0.

DELHI DAREDEVILS: Mayank Agarwal (not out) 52 (40b, 6x4, 1x6), Shreyas Iyer c Patel b Thakur 54 (40b, 4x4, 3x6), Saurabh Tiwary (not out) 5 (4b, 1x4), Extras (LB- 2, W-5, NB-1) 8, Total: (1 wkt, 13.5 overs) 119.                                          
Fall of wickets: 1-106 (Iyer).
Bowling: Sandeep Sharma 3-0-10-0, Shardul Thakur 3-0-38-1, Anureet Singh 3-0-24-0, Thisara Perera 2-0-22-0, Axar Patel 2.5-0-23-1. 

What stood out in Zaheer’s performance was the way he controlled the new ball. He may no longer be as quick but he maintained a disciplined line, bowled fuller and didn’t give batsmen room to go for their strokes.

In between, Duminy removed Shaun Marsh, who was trapped leg before while trying to play across the line against off-spinner and when Coulter-Nile dismissed Wriddhiman Saha, Kings XI were precariously placed at 10/4. And had it not been for David Miller, who stitched two partnerships, they wouldn’t even have crossed the 100-run mark.  His 57-run partnership with Axar Patel for the seventh wicket proved to be face saving.

It was just the kind of farewell Daredevils needed to give to the home crowd. With no more home matches left and the tournament reaching the half-stage mark, the journey ahead for Daredevils leave them with little margin of error. Consistency will decide their fate.

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