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Mohammad Shami © SuperSport

Delhi win delays Pune's playoff bid

The Delhi Daredevils may be out of the IPL, but they successfully played a spoiling role at their home ground in Delhi on Friday night when they beat playoff contenders the Rising Pune Supergiant by seven runs.

Full Scorecard: Delhi v Pune

So, Steve Smith’s men still need another victory in their last match to confirm their place in the final stages, and that will take place against the Kings XI Punjab in what will be a virtual playoff for that position on Sunday afternoon.

Facing a target of 169 for victory, Pune were never quite up with the eight-ball in their innings, losing wickets at crucial moments just when they looked like taking control.

But their top scorer, Manoj Tiwary (60 off 45 balls, with five fours and three sixes), made a brave attempt at a last-ditch victory when he faced Pat Cummins in the final over with his team needing 25 runs for an unlikely win.

The first two balls each went for six, but Cummins came back well and bowled Tiwary with his final delivery to clinch victory.

Just as Delhi, who batted first after winning the toss, lost their first two wickets cheaply, so did Pune follow suit with Ajinkya Rahane being bowled first ball by a superb inswinging delivery from Delhi captain Zaheer Khan.

Rahul Tripathi followed soon afterwards but Smith, striking the ball beautifully, had reached 38 in 32 deliveries before he was leg before to left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.

Ben Stokes, who had earlier excelled in the field and with the ball, looked likely to take his team to victory with Tiwary, but was well caught on the boundary by Corey Anderson off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for 33 in 25 balls. And when MS Dhoni was brilliantly run out by Shami in the 18th over, Delhi always looked the likelier winners.

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Earlier, Delhi finished 20 short of a really challenging total, largely because of Stokes and another superb effort with the gloves from Dhoni who clinched his 100th dismissal in the IPL.

The England allrounder hit the stumps from short third man with a fine throw in the first over to run out the dangerous Sanju Sampson, then he captured 2-31 in his four overs before grabbing a spectacular catch on the boundary in the penultimate over to get rid of Shami.

Stokes caught the ball just inside the boundary, threw it up and was able to re-enter the field of play to complete one of the best catches in the competition to date.

In the first three overs, Delhi had alternated between reverse and neutral gears with the dismissal of Samson and Shreyas Iyer as Delhi slumped to nine for two.

There followed a scintillating partnership of 74 in 6.4 overs between opener Karun Nair and young gun Rishabh Pant to set the home team back on their feet. But just when the two men were in full flight, Pant (36 off 22 balls) mistimed Adam Zampa to long-on.

Nair struck his first half-century of the tournament, hitting 64 off 45 balls to provide the spine of the home team’s innings – and, as it turned out, just enough runs to defend.

DELHI DAREDEVILS: SV Samson, KK Nair, RR Pant (wk), SS Iyer, MN Samuels, CJ Anderson, PJ Cummins, Mohammed Shami, S Nadeem, A Mishra, Z Khan (capt)

RISING PUNE SUPERGIANT: AM Rahane, RA Tripathi, SPD Smith (capt), BA Stokes, MS Dhoni (wk), DT Christian, MK Tiwary, Washington Sundar, SN Thakur, JD Unadkat, A Zampa


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