Kanpur: Shreyas Iyer scripted a sensational two-wicket win for Delhi Daredevils with a classy 96 against Gujarat Lions, breathing life into what otherwise was a dead rubber of the Indian Premier League.
Aaron Finch (69 off 39) stitched a 92-run stand with Dinesh Karthik (40 off 28) to lead Lions to 195 for five.
Daredevils looked down and out at 121 for six, needing another 75 off 36, before Iyer came up with a dazzling display of strokeplay to stage a dramatic turnaround for Daredevils. He reached his highest IPL score but was unlucky to miss out on a well deserved hundred. Overall, Iyer hammered 15 fours and two sixes in his 57-ball knock.
Amit Mishra struck consecutive fours after his team needed nine off the last over bowled by Basil Thampi. It was an inconsequential game with both teams out of the play-off race before Iyer’s special knock made it a match to remember.
Daredevils started the chase badly, losing the talented Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant in the second over. Samson played on to his stumps while attempting to smash a short ball off Pradeep Sangwan.
It was a rather bizarre dismissal for Pant, who was already in pain after being hit on the thumb while collecting a throw from the deep in Lions innings.
The southpaw was run out after the ball ricocheted from his pads to Suresh Raina at slip and the opposition captain was quick to pounce on the opportunity, seeing Pant out of his crease.
Though the batsman was distracted by the loud lbw appeal, he should have shown more alertness. At that point, it seemed Daredevils would go down without a fight again, just like they had done by folding up for 66 against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
However Karun Nair and Iyer resorted to counter attack with some clean hitting. Their 57-run stand off 34 balls pushed Daredevils to 71 for two in seven overs. Lions needed a wicket to arrest the flow of runs and they got one through Faulkner, who removed the dangerous Nair.
What followed was brilliant work in the field by Ravindra Jadeja, who effected run outs of Marlon Samuels and Corey Anderson with direct hits, leaving Daredevils at 104 for five.
Earlier, Finch got good support from Karthik after Lions were reduced to 56 for three in the seventh over. Finch was the stand out the batsman for the Lions who were put in to bat by Daredevils in the first of the two matches to played at the Green Park stadium.
The Australian, who batted in the middle order and not his usual opening slot, got going with two consecutive sixes off Mishra in the ninth over. He went on to hit two more sixes with last one bringing up his second half century of the season. Finch also hammered four boundaries in his entertaining knock.
Karthik was scoring freely at the other end, allowing Finch to play at the other end. The wicket-keeper batsman missed out on his third half century this season after being caught at long-on off Carlos Brathwaite.
Finch was dismissed in the penultimate over of the innings, missing a fuller one from Mohammed Shami to be bowled. James Faulkner and Ravindra Jadeja struck a few lusty blows to take their team closer to 200.