Roy clinches thrilling win on Daredevils debut
Delhi Daredevils 195 for 3 (Roy 91*, Pant 47, Krunal Pandya 2-21) beat Mumbai Indians 194 for 7 (Suryakumar 53, Lewis 48, Christian 2-35) by seven wickets. In the build-up, this was a clash between an established powerhouse and a team full of promising talent; in reality, it was a scrap between two sides searching for their first win in the season. And by the time it was done, Mumbai were left ruing a batting slide as Delhi Daredevils chased down 195 off the final ball. Mumbai have been slow starters in previous IPL seasons and are once again this year, with their third consecutive defeat. Their start against Daredevils, however, was anything but slow. Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis plundered 84 off the Powerplay, but a slump in which five wickets fell for 21 allowed them to get only 194, a below-par total on a belting batting pitch. Daredevils debutant Jason Roy led the chase with an unbeaten 91 – he faced the first and last ball of the chase – and was supported by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer as the visitors left the Wankhede with their first points in the bag.
Despite losing the toss, Rohit Sharma was not fussed about batting first because conditions were ideal: a true pitch, fast outfield and short boundaries. Rohit dropped himself down the order, and Suryakumar partnered Lewis at the top for the first time. The move worked like a dream. While Suryakumar was slick and innovative – he found the third-man boundary with a late uppercut off Trent Boult and the deftest glide to a yorker from Mohammed Shami – Lewis used his strength to punish Daredevils’ poor lengths. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem was horribly inaccurate and did not flight the ball, while Shami and Dan Christian bowled lengths that allowed the batsmen room. The cheapest over in the Powerplay cost 10 runs, and Mumbai’s 84 was their best score after six overs in the IPL.
Since 2015, Lewis has a middle-overs strike rate of 174.1 in T20s – the best among all players to have faced at least 250 balls. On Saturday, Lewis’ middle-overs form failed him, and after the Powerplay he scored only 11 runs off 12 balls. The slump began against the legspinner Rahul Tewatia, who conceded three runs in the seventh over. In his next over, Tewatia foxed Lewis by floating up a googly and drawing the mis-hit that was caught at mid off. The lull was worsened by Suryakumar’s dismissal shortly after he had scored his second fifty in 45 IPL innings. Ishan Kishan, batting at No. 3, recovered from a slow start to slam 44 off 23 balls, but Mumbai fell away below him. Rohit showed a peculiar lack of urgency, Kieron Pollard was bowled for a golden duck, and even the Pandya brothers – Krunal and Hardik – were kept quiet. Having thundered to 100 halfway in the ninth over, 36 runs off the last five overs was where Mumbai lost the game.
In three matches with Gujarat Lions last season, Roy scored 59 runs; on Saturday, he needed only 33 balls to better that tally. Roy was efficient in using his feet to meet the pitch of the ball, as well as using the depth of the crease while shifting back. It made bowling either length to him problematic, and left the bowlers to try taking pace off the ball. Roy neutralised that as well with brute force to clear the boundaries. Roy made up for a struggling Gautam Gambhir, ensuring Daredevils had a brisk run rate even as the captain scored at a run a ball. Gambhir’s miscued pull eventually worked to their advantage, because Pant unleashed a flurry of reverse sweeps and paddles to take the pressure off Roy. Mumbai’s find of the season so far, the legspinner Mayank Markande, had his first rough night in the IPL. After figures of 3 for 23 and 4 for 23 in his first two matches, Markande went for 42 runs in three overs, well above the asking rate of the chase.
Daredevils were coasting towards the target, but hit a bump at the end. Had Mustafizur Rahman caught two chances at short third man off Shreyas Iyer in the 17th over, the result might have been different, because with 16 required off 12 balls, Bumrah sent down an excellent 19th over that cost just five. Roy responded to the challenge of 11 needed off six balls by hitting Mustafizur for a four and a six, but swung and missed at the next three balls. With one needed off one, Roy swung again and this time made enough contact to clear the infield on the off side and ensure his outstanding debut for Daredevils did not have a Super Over.