The Delhi Daredevils are proving to be a real force to be reckoned with. After two impressive wins in IPL 2016, DD made it three in a row with a solid all-round performance against the Mumbai Indians at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday.
Put into bat, the Delhi Daredevils rode on solid knocks from Sanju Samson (60, 48b, 4x4, 2x6) and JP Duminy (49, 31b, 3x4, 2x6) to post 164/4 in their 20 overs. Then, led by the outstanding Amit Mishra again, DD kept MI to 154 for seven, despite another half-century from skipper Rohit Sharma (65, 48b, 7x4, 1x6).
Parthiv Patel again failed to make an impression at the top, raising that why-do-Mumbai-keep-playing-him-when-they-have-Jos-Buttler-to-use-as-a-wicketkeeper question again, but Rohit Sharma was in the mood from the start, hitting those delightful drives and flicks to get MI purring.
In the company of Ambati Rayudu, Rohit guided the Mumbai Indians to 52 in the first six overs – which included a 19-run over from Pawan Negi, who is really struggling to live up to his IPL Player Auction expectations – and while Rayudu (25, 23b, 4x4) fell a little while later, in the ninth over, Rohit continued on nicely, anchoring the chase, like he did in MI's last two wins.
However, the pressure stayed on Rohit and the Mumbai Indians as the chasing side kept losing wickets, with Krunal Pandya (36, 17b, 4x4, 2x6), after a smashing hand, and Jos Buttler, to the excellent Amit Mishra (4-0-24-2), falling and with it leaving MI needing 55 from 33 balls.
With Rohit at the crease and Kieron Pollard, fresh from a barnstorming innings against RCB, walking in, the game was still MI's to win, but Mishra put the skids on again, leaving the Mumbai Indians requiring 42 from the last three overs. Ten came off the 18th, bowled by Chris Morris, which meant MI needed 32 from 12 balls for victory.
Zaheer Khan, the skipper, took the responsibility of bowling the crucial 19th over, and he did a brilliant job, conceding 11 runs, while, crucially, picking up the wicket of Kieron Pollard (19, 18b, 1x6). Morris, with MI needing 21 runs, did his job in the final over, with Rohit getting run out off the third ball, after a mid-pitch collision with Hardik Pandya, his second of the match.
Earlier, Samson finally found some form, before JP Duminy did what he does best at the backend of the innings. The start was far from perfect, as the centurion from their last game – Quinton de Kock – fell early, to Mitchell McClenaghan in the second over.
However, Shreyas Iyer (19, 20b, 1x4, 1x6) and Samson got together for a 37 runs, before Iyer's penchant for playing the rash stroke had him walking back to the pavilion. Karun Nair, who played a mature innings alongside Quinton de Kock, showed his immaturity and fell soon after, leaving Samson and JP Duminy to ensure the Daredevils bowlers would have something to defend.
They did that brilliantly too, adding 71 runs together in 8.3 overs and that too without taking too many risks. Samson is a wonderful player to watch when in full flow, and he reignited those IPL memories from a few years ago which had everyone impressed and calling for a place in the India team.
Once Samson fell, after holing out in the 17th over, Duminy showed all his finishing skills to take DD past the 160-run mark.