By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
ABU DHABI: The spectacular run of Sunrisers Hyderabad finally came to an end as Delhi Capitals stormed into their maiden final in the Dream11 Indian Premier League on Sunday. The second Qualifier at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium lived up to the pre-match expectations and produced quality cricket from both the teams in a do-or-die battle.
Sunrisers Hyderabad failed to rise on this occasion and were downed by an inspired Delhi Capitals outfit. The Shreyas Iyer-led side will now clash with defending champions Mumbai Indians in the final on Tuesday. Holders MI had defeated DC by 57 runs in the first Qualifier on Wednesday to book their berth in the summit clash.
Chasing a huge target of 190, SRH did not get the best of starts. Their reliable opener David Warner was dismissed for only two as he became the first of the four victims of Kagiso Rabada. Priyam Garg (17) and Manish Pandey (21) took the early departure of their skipper in stride and played aggressively before they both perished trying to step up the scoring.
Last-match hero Kane Williamson continued from where he had left on Friday to play yet another glorious innings. Till he was at the crease SRH had a great chance to cross the finish line. The New Zealander put his side back on track by adding 46 runs for the fourth wicket with Jason Holder (11).
Abdul Samad then joined Williamson and changed the complexion of the game completely. The duo stitched together a 57-run stand for the fifth wicket in no time. Just when it looked like the duo would take SRH to their second final, Williamson committed a blunder. He slashed a wide delivery to the deep point region where Rabada gleefully accepted the ‘gift’ off Marcus Stoinis’ bowling.
The loss of Williamson (67: 45 balls, 5×4, 4×6) did not affect Samad as the teenager continued his fearless batting to inch closer to the target. Samad treated every bowler with disdain and played strokes to all parts of the ground. Samad, who hails from Jammu, and Rashid Khan increased the tension in the DC camp when SRH needed 30 runs from the last two overs. It looked quite possible the way Samad and Rashid were batting in the centre.
However, Rabada shattered the hopes of SRH with an extraordinary bowling in the penultimate over. The ace speedster got rid of the dangerous Samad (33: 16 balls, 2×4, 2×6), who was holed out to long-off by a diving substitute fielder KMA Paul. Rabada then sent back Rashid Khan (11) and Shreevats Goswami in the same over to seal the fate of SRH.
Rabada, who returned with an excellent figures of 4-29, did the bulk of the damage. He was ably supported by Stoinis, who scalped 3 for 26. Axar Patel chipped in with a wicket.
Earlier, after a few poor outings, Shikhar Dhawan found his magical form again as the dashing left-hander hammered 78 to propel DC to pile up a huge total of 189 for 3. The experienced southpaw, who had earlier in the season struck back-to-back centuries, was in his element yet again at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium. Dhawan’s 78 came off 50 balls and was laced with six boundaries and a couple of sixes.
The 34-year-old Dhawan was involved in two big partnerships to set up the tone for the match. He and Marcus Stoinis, who was promoted as an opener in a do-or-die encounter, gave the innings a flying start. The fifty of the innings came in just five overs as they were maintaining a ten-run per-over average from the word go. The new opening duo added 86 runs in just 8.2 overs.
Stoinis’s threatening innings was cut short by Rashid Khan as the leggie cleaned up him with a brilliant delivery. Stoinis’ 38-run knock came in 27 deliveries and studded with five fours and a six. Dhawan then added another 40 runs for the second wicket with skipper Shreyas Iyer, who earlier had won the toss and opted to bat. Iyer played well for his 21 runs (20 balls, 1×4) but failed to play big shots and accelerate the scoring further.
Shimron Hetmyer then gave the innings a perfect finish by cracking an unbeaten 42 off 22 deliveries. The aggressive left-hander walloped four boundaries and a six. For SRH, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma and Jason Holder took a wicket each but failed to stop the flow of runs. For his all-round effort, 31-year-old Stoinis was declared the man-of-the-match.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 189 for 3 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 78, Shimron Hetmyer 42 not out, Marcus Stoinis 38, Shreyas Iyer 21; Rashid Khan 1-26, Sandeep Sharma 1-30, Jason Holder 1-50) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 172 for 8 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 67, Abdul Samad 33, Manish Pandey 21, Priyam Garg 17, Jason Holder 11, Rashid Khan 11; Kagiso Rabada 4-29, Marcus Stoinis 3-26, Axar Patel 1-33) by 17 runs. Man-of-the-match: Marcus Stoinis (DC).