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Delhi Capitals hang on to defend 144 against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Delhi Capitals hang on to defend 144 against Sunrisers Hyderabad
Delhi Capitals hang on to defend 144 against Sunrisers Hyderabad


Delhi Capitals 144 for 9 (Pandey 34, Axar 34, Washington 3-28, Bhuvneshwar 2-11) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 137 for 6 (Agarwal 49, Klaasen 31, Axar 2-21, Nortje 2-33) by seven runs

For a large part of the contest, Sunrisers Hyderabad seemed to have a hold on Delhi Capitals. Like when Washington Sundar picked up three wickets in an over. When Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away almost nothing in his four overs. When Mayank Agarwal laid a solid platform for Sunrisers’ chase of 145.

It came down to Sunrisers needing 13 off the last over, with Washington and Marco Jansen in the middle. But Mukesh Kumar exuded calmness as he nailed his yorkers and gave away only five runs, sealing a seven-run win for Capitals. It was the lowest total the Delhi franchise had successfully defended in the IPL.

Capitals’ spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel had combined figures of 8-0-43-3 to stifle Sunrisers in the chase. It was Capitals’ second successive win, but despite that they stayed at the bottom of the standings, thanks to their net run rate of -0.961.

Washington, Klaasen take Sunrisers close

Capitals’ spinners had done well to leave Sunrisers needing 51 off the last four overs. But Heinrich Klaasen displayed his power-hitting skills, taking on fellow South African Anrich Nortje. From being on 9 from 8 at the start of the 17th over, Klaasen raced to 31 off 18, launching Nortje for a six over deep midwicket and then hitting two fours off Mukesh in the 18th over. At the other end, Washington first ramped Nortje through deep third before playing a tumbling scoop off Mukesh. He then heaved Nortje through deep midwicket to get the equation down to 13 off 6. But Washington couldn’t get the big hits away in the final over.

Sunrisers get stuck

After changing their opening combination once again, Sunrisers got off to a sedate start. Harry Brook struggled to get the measure of the surface and fell for seven off 14 balls trying to scoop Nortje. Agarwal started more positively, but Sunrisers managed only 36 for 1 in the powerplay.

Rahul Tripathi, brought in as the Impact Player for T Natarajan, tried everything he could – dashing down the track, getting inside the line to play the scoop, using the depth of the crease – but he couldn’t put the ball away either. Agarwal, meanwhile, found the occasional boundary but the runs came at a premium. Their 38-run stand for the second wicket ended when Agarwal looked to hit out off Axar, against whom he doesn’t have a favourble match-up. Off the 54 balls Agarwal has faced from Axar in the IPL, he has managed to score only 43. On Monday, he fell for 49 off 39 balls and that opened the floodgates. Tripathi was caught behind off Ishant Sharma in the next over, Kuldeep deceived Abhishek Sharma in the following over before Axar had Aiden Markram chopping on in the 15th over.

In the middle overs (7-16) Sunrisers could muster only 58 and lost four wickets. In the corresponding phase, Capitals had managed 64 for 3.

Washington’s triple-strike

In 13.4 overs in IPL 2023 before Monday, Washington had gone wicketless. His first over against Sunrisers went for 13 with David Warner hitting a four and a six. Washington then stepped up in his next over, the eighth of the innings, putting the skids on Capitals.

Warner went for a slog-sweep and only found deep midwicket. A ball later, Washington had Sarfaraz Khan top-edging a sweep to deep backward square leg. And then, off the fifth ball of the over, Aman Khan fell top-edging an attempted slog across the line to covers. From 57 for 2, Capitals had slid to 62 for 5 in eight overs.

Capitals’ batting wobbly again

Having benched Shaw, Phil Salt opened for Capitals but nibbled at an outswinging length ball from Bhuvneshwar on his first ball, the third of the match, to be caught behind for a blob. Warner hit his first six of the season but was not fluent. Sarfaraz Khan had one lofted extra cover drive for six to write home about. But barring Mitchell Marsh, Manish Pandey and Axar, Capitals’ batting left a lot to be desired again.

Marsh got going with four fours off Jansen’s first over. He first flicked a length ball over midwicket before tickling one down to fine leg. Jansen went wide and was duly thrashed through cover-point before being caressed through extra covers. But Natarajan managed to see the back of Marsh in the final over of the powerplay, getting one to swing into him off a length. It struck Marsh on the back pad and the umpire ruled the lbw appeal in the batter’s favour but Sunrisers got their man via the DRS.

With Pandey and Axar joining hands in the eighth over, Capitals were in danger of falling way short on a surface that had enough in it for the spinners. But the duo added 69 together off 59 balls to give them a semblance of platform for the final flourish. Both scored 34 apiece with Pandey taking 27 balls and Axar taking 34 for his.

But Bhuvneshwar cleaned up Axar with a seaming ball that dipped on the batter to bowl him. Pandey was run-out in the following over as Sunrisers slid into the driver’s seat. Capitals lost four wickets in the last 19 balls to finish at 144 for 9, a total that didn’t seem enough at the halfway stage. But their bowlers ensured it was.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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