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Karun helps Daredevils stay alive

RAIPUR:Five runs and a wicket in the 19th over almost ended Delhi Daredevils’s campaign in the ninth season of IPL before Karun Nair effected a jailbreak off the last ball of the innings as the team won by six wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad and stayed alive in the competition here on Friday.

Karun Nair threw his bat, often with greater success than this, in his match-winning unbeaten 83. Photo: PTI

Chasing 159, Daredevils rode on Karun’s solidity, Rishabh Pant’s brilliance and quite a few lives gifted by Hyderabad to go on to 14 points.

Needing 16 runs in two overs, Mustafizur Rahman, who had had an ordinary day till then in the field, stepped up for the visitors and brought them close enough to victory and a confirmed play-off spot but it was not to be as the race to the final four remains open.

Pravin Amre would have been a proud man. The Delhi coach had insisted the team was looking to improve its batting and that this would be the best time to do so.

Karun remained unbeaten on 83 and was the guiding star for the Daredevils at their ‘home away from home.’ His 71-run partnership with Pant for the second wicket was the highlight of the innings, chanceless and elegant without being brutal.

Delhi had a clear plan to keep wickets in hand till the end and it paid off even though the team had a close shave. Quinton de Kock fell early but Karun and Pant, and then Nair and Duminy, built the innings with patience and accuracy. Karun’s eight fours and three sixes were all clean on either side of the pitch. Two of his three sixes came in the 17th over as Daredevils finally switched gears and went past Hyderabad’s par score in the game for the first time.

The team was lucky, though. Karun got a life on 51 when David Warner dropped an easy catch running in.

Next over, JP Duminy was dropped by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had earlier effected a brilliant run out with a direct hit from the deep to dismiss Pant. But it all came to nought as the ball raced under a diving Warner to the boundary for Daredevil’s seventh win. Earlier, Sunrisers Hyderabad rode on David Warner’s anchorage and lusty hits by the rest to pile up 158 runs for the loss of seven wickets after being put in to bat.

Warner, who has been the fulcrum holding the batting together, got his seventh half century of the season, gathering the runs with clockwork precision even as he freed the rest of his team to go for the big shots.

Delhi brought in Carlos Brathwaite and the big Bajan had a fruitful outing with the ball.

He started with a brilliant run out off his own fielding that saw Shikhar Dhawan failing to get back in time just as the Dhawan-Warner duo was beginning to step on the accelerator.

Once that partnership was broken, there weren’t any other allowed to form but almost every batsman that followed hit some big ones to ensure the run rate did not drop.

Misfields, including a dropped catch by Pant, did not help Daredevil’s cause despite regular wickets.

Warner kept one end up but finally fell for 73 trying to step up, caught at third man — off Brathwaite as the latter rounded off a brilliant night with the ball.