A fine cocktail of experience and youth delivered Delhi Daredevils their first victory of the season. The old boys legspinner Amit Mishra, featuring in his 100th IPL match, and captain Zaheer Khan – led the way with the ball, smothering Kings XI Punjab to 111 for 9. The bowlers then ceded the stage to opener Quinton de Kock and Sanju Samson who added 91 together in 64 balls to put Daredevils on course. When Pawan Negi slugged Pardeep Sahu over the midwicket boundary for a six halfway into the 14th over, Daredevils won by eight wickets.
While Zaheer gave his team the early spark after choosing to bowl on what he called a “slow surface”, Mishra pierced through Kings XI’s middle order with dip, turn, and sometimes, even lack of turn.
Mishra had Shaun Marsh stumped off his first ball, then dismissed David Miller and Glenn Maxwell in the same over to break the opposition’s spine. Three of their heaviest scoring batsmen were dismissed in the space of 16 balls and leaving the score at 52 for 4 in the ninth over.
Mishra’s bowling was envenomed by Zaheer, placing a slip and at times a short let to capitalise on the nervous batsmen. Daredevils built on the double-strike and sent in six boundary-less overs between the ninth and 14th. It was during this phase that Mishra rattled Manan Vohra’s leg stump with a wrong’ un to claim his fourth wicket in three overs. Kings XI were reeling at 59 for 5 in the 11th over, but Zaheer did not call on Mishra to bowl any further.
Kings XI’s struggles were not restricted to spin bowling though. Zaheer, who had conceded he had “tried too much” in the first match against Kolkata Knight Riders, found swing right away on Friday. His first delivery moved back in and had the extra bounce to rap M Vijay high on the pad. That meant the balls that went on with the angle across the right-hander became more effective. Zaheer teased the outside edge regularly in his first spell before coming back to have his reward when Mohit Sharma skied one to Chris Morris at mid-off.
Morris did his part as well, bowling some good yorkers in the slog overs and hustling the opposition with his pace. Offspinner Jayant Yadav also benefited from the cushion and strung together four quiet overs. The Haryana duo of Mohit and Sahu, though, sent enough balls to the boundary to push Kings XI past 100.
Kings XI made life easier for Daredevils in the chase. De Kock was reprieved twice – M Vijay dropped him at deep square leg on 7 before Wriddhiman Saha botched a stumping chance on 23. De Kock, who was rather subdued in the Powerplay, hit rhythm when he cracked three fours off Axar Patel in the eighth over.
Sanju Samson, who was hiked to No.3, came in at the early fall of Shreyas Iyer adjudged caught behind despite the Snicko picking up nothing took nine balls to get off the mark. He manufactured the release when he galloped down the track and put legspinner Pardeep Sahu over long-on.
Samson then welcomed Maxwell with successive fours while de Kock raised a half-century off 38 balls. Axar bowled Samson for 33 in the next over, but but de Kock and Negi saw Daredevils home.