Gujarat Lions continued their impressive run in IPL 2016, defeating in-form Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday by one run. With this victory, Suresh Raina-led Lions have climbed to top of the table with 10 points.
The Gujarat Lions put up 172 runs on the board after some outstanding innings from Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith at the top of the order. Though Gujarat Lions clinched a thrilling win in the final over, the visitors survived a huge scare as Chris Morris played a superb innings, scoring 32-ball 82. Had Delhi Daredevils' top order provided a better start, the result could have been different.
Delhi Daredevils decision to bat second, after winning the toss, did not resemble a wise choice as Gujarat Lions openers -- McCullum and Smith -- bludgeoned the bowlers all around the park with ridiculous ease. There was an air of confidence in their batting, as the duo scored 71 runs during the Powerplay.
The pair added more than 100 runs for the first wicket. Smith was back in the dugout after scoring 30-ball 53, and McCullum lost his wicket after scoring 60 runs from 36 balls. Smith hit five fours and three sixes while the New Zealander hit six fours and three sixes, as they provided a perfect start for the rest of the batsmen to flourish.
Unfortunately, other batsmen could not take advantage of the situation as wickets fell like nine pins in Delhi. Indian cricketers Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja failed with the bat, allowing the home team to come back into the game.
However, one has to credit Delhi's bowlers, primarily Imran Tahir and Morris, as the leggie picked up three wickets while the all-rounder scalped two. Skipper Zaheer Khan must be pleased, restricting the Lions for 172 runs after an amazing start by McCullum and Smith.
Delhi Daredevils were required to start well, but the Gujarat Lions bowlers bowled a perfect line and length, to trouble the batsmen. Delhi were in all sorts of trouble as they lost their first three wickets under four overs. Dhawal Kulkarni picked the wickets of Quinton de Kock, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair to strengthen their position in the match.
Though JP Duminy and Rishabh Pant were looking good, the required run rate was always climbing, thus making life difficult for the batsmen. When Duminy and Pant were just trying to up the ante, the Indian player lost his wicket for 20 runs in the 11th over.
The score was looking mammoth with wickets falling at regular intervals. But, they were not giving up too easily as Morris walked into bat, and raised hopes with two massive sixes in the 13th over.
With the crowd chanting his name, 'Morris, Morris, Morris,' he did not disappoint, hitting sixes with ease, and inching closer to the total as well. There was no stopping Morris, who completed his 50 in just 17 balls.
Despite losing Duminy in the 18th over, Delhi were favourite with Morris striking the ball into the crowd, consistently.
After a brilliant penultimate over by Praveen Kumar, giving away four runs only, Delhi had to score 14 runs from the final over. Dwayne Bravo held his nerve in the last over, mixing his deliveries well, giving away 12 runs to help his team emerge triumphant despite a valiant effort from Morris, who will be disappointed with the result after playing his best IPL innings.