Shreyas Iyer’s 57-ball 96 helps Delhi pull off a heist

Iyer’s 57-ball 96 snatches a two-wicket victory for Delhi Daredevils.

Young Shreyas Iyer missed a magnificent century by four runs but that was enough for Delhi Daredevils to edge past Gujarat Lions by two wickets at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on Wednesday.

Earlier, after being put into bat in Kanpur, hosts Gujarat managed 195 for five in their allotted 20 overs. Top scoring for Gujarat was Aaron Finch who made 69. For Delhi, the pick of the bowlers was Amit Mishra who had figures of one for 27. Aaron Finch’s flashy 39-ball 69, laced with six fours and four sixes helped Gujarat Lions recover from the early jolts and post a mammoth 195/5. Finch’s 92-run fourth wicket stand with wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (40) helped the Lions recover after losing the early wickets of opener Smith (8), Raina (6) and Ishan Kishan (34).

Chasing a mammoth 196, Delhi lost half their side for 105 runs before Iyer and Australian Pat Cummins’ cameo (24 of 13 balls) guided the visitors to the win. Gujarat on the other hand, were electric on the field with skipper Suresh Raina and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, accounting for three brilliant run-outs of the in-form Pant (4), Marlon Samuels (1) and Corey Anderson (6).

Delhi failed to get the momentum with the run-outs having lost opener Samson, bowled by left-arm pacer Pradeep Sangwan after scoring a 7-ball 10 before losing Pant immediately off an excellent throw at the stumps from Raina. Karun Nair (30) and Iyer then stabilised the innings with a 57-run third wicket stand before the strategic time-out once again did the trick for the home side, in the form of Nair’s dismissal.

It was after Iyer and Cummins came together to milk 29 runs off 10 balls when Delhi could smell the victory. Iyer, who almost single-handedly tamed the Lions in their own den with a 57-ball 96, his highest IPL score. Iyer first dispatched Sangwan for two consecutive boundaries and then meted out the same treatment to Kulkarni.

Cummins too joined the party, using the long handle to good effect as the Australian raised a valuable 61-run stand for the seventh wicket with Iyer to take the visitors within sniffing distance of a win.

With 14 needed off seven deliveries, tail-ender Mohammed Shami (4 not out) managed to push one to the boundary to reduce the margin before Basil Thampi in his second delivery of the final over, got one in the blockhole to blow Iyer’s middle stump. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra (8 not out) then whacked two consecutive fours to seal the deal in favour of Delhi.

Languishing at the bottom of the IPL standings and already out of contention for the play-offs, both the sides had nothing to lose in the contest. With the win, Delhi rose to sixth while Gujarat are at the penultimate spot in the eight-team table.

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