Young Shreyas Iyer missed a magnificent century by four runs but that was enough for Delhi Daredevils to edge past Gujarat Lions by two wickets in an inconsequential Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Green Park Stadium on Wednesday
Shreyas Iyer of the Delhi Daredevils plays a shot during an IPL match against Gujarat Lions. Pic/PTI
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.
Earlier, 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.
Aaron Finch of the Gujarat Lions raises his bat after scoring 50 runs during an IPL match against Delhi Daredevils. Pic/PTI
Earlier, Australian Aaron Finch's flashy half century helped Gujarat Lions recover from the early jolts and post a mammoth 195/5.
Finch scored a 39-ball 69, laced with six fours and four sixes to raise a 92-run fourth wicket stand with wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (40) to help the Lions recover from a precarious position after losing the early wickets of opener Dwayne Smith (8), Suresh Raina (6) and Ishan Kishan (34).
Languishing at the bottom of the IPL standings and already out of contention for the play-offs, both the sides have nothing to lose in the contest.
Put in to bat, Smith was the first batsman to be dismissed while attempting a dicey single after adding 21 runs with Kishan before skipper Raina fell prey to Pat Cummins' penultimate ball of his first over of the match.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra then jolted the Gujarat side in the very next over with the wicket of young Kishan, who looked good for his 25-ball knock, laced with five fours and a six, before a top edge landed in the safe hands of Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan at short fine leg.
Reeling at 56/3, Karthik and Finch began the recovery sensibly, taking the odd singles and helping the bad balls to the boundary as the run rate dropped a bit midway into the innings.
Finch was the aggressor of the duo, dispatching Mishra for consecutive sixes before Karthik joined the party as the Lions reached the three figure mark in the 12th over.
Delhi found it tough to break the partnership with both the right-handers stepping up the gas to race to 148/3 by the 16th over, before West Indian Carlos Brathwaite managed to pack the Tamil Nadu-born stumper, who had faced 28 balls by then and struck four fours and a six.
Thereafter, Finch, who by now had reached his 50 off 32 balls, struck a few blows to add 32 runs for the fifth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (13 not out) before Shami's full delivery blew the Australian's middle stump.
Towards the end, James Faulkner (14 not out) and Jadeja added 15 runs as the home side milked 61 runs off the final five overs.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Lions 195/5 (Aaron Finch 69, Dinesh Karthik 40, Ishan Kishan 34, Amit Mishra 1/27) vs Delhi Daredevils.