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 on Friday.
Chasing 159, Daredevils rode on Nair’s knock to secure a last-ball win against the butter-fingered 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 remain 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 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 mid-wicket 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 mid-wicket 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 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.