Stoinis stymies Daredevils

Marcus Stoinis emerged an unlikely hero for Kings XI Punjab after his all-round show pushed Delhi Daredevils to a second successive defeat.

Marcus Stoinis's all-round performance was instrumental in Kings XI's nine-run win. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

After scoring a timely 52 in Kings XI’s 181 for five, Man-of-the-Match Stoinis claimed three wickets, including the well-set openers, Quinton de Kock and Sanju Samson, to set up Kings XI’s dramatic nine-run victory.

The strikes by Stoinis slowed down the chase and once dangerman Carlos Brathwaite fell for a six-ball 12, the equation became 28 runs off two overs.

With Chris Morris and young Rishabh Pant swinging and missing, the 19th over bowled by Mohit Sharma produced only three runs. That left Sandeep Sharma to defend 25 runs in the last over. Sandeep conceded 15 runs, including a six and a four, and Kings XI had pulled off a much-needed victory.

After Quinton de Kock did most of the scoring to lay a firm foundation, Delhi was well on target with Samson stepping on the accelerator. But once Stoinis got into the act, Delhi lost its way.

Earlier Kings XI gave itself a fair chance of recording its third victory.

Kings XI, in a must-win situation to keep alive hopes of making the play-offs, finished off strongly as 75 runs came off the last six overs following half-centuries from opener Stoinis and Wriddhiman Saha.

The innings was dotted with 15 boundaries and five sixes even as the Daredevils bowlers squeezed in 34 dot balls.

Though skipper M. Vijay failed to build on a fluent 25 and debutant Hashim Amla lasted just five deliveries before being run out, half-centurions Stoinis and Saha ensured that the opposition was never in a position to gain control.

Stoinis was impressive in his stroke selection as he hit two boundaries off Morris’s first over, a six off Shahbaz Nadeem and then collected a six and a four off a Brathwaite over.

Saha, who gained immensely from the way Stoinis was stroking the ball at the other end, made Amit Mishra look ordinary by hitting him for two boundaries and then hit three fours in succession off Zaheer Khan.

After Glenn Maxwell again fell cheaply, Saha followed off the next delivery to leave two new batsmen — David Miller and Axar Patel — in the middle at the start of the 19th over.

But the duo added 29 runs that included two sixes from Patel.

For this match, a chastened Delhi Daredevils re-inducted the four players — skipper Zaheer Khan, opener de Kock, all-rounder Morris and spinner Nadeem in place of last match’s stand-in skipper J-P. Duminy, Imran Tahir, Pawan Negi and Jayant Yadav from the squad that lost to Rising Pune Supergiants on May 5.