|Shakib-al Hasan and Robin Uthappa, in Dubai, on Saturday
Dubai: They have shared many wins and losses together, but on Saturday, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel, teammates in the South African team for many years, were pitted against each other by the Indian Premier League.
The scorecard would say that the Delhi DareDevils defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets, but in reality a South African won and a South African lost.
Duminy, with 52 not out off 35 balls, walked out of the ground with a winner’s gait; Morkel, who gave away 21 runs in the 18th over of the DareDevils’ innings, would have to take the responsibility for his team’s loss.
The match promised to be a closely-fought one when the DareDevils, chasing a 167-run target, needed 50 runs off the last six overs with seven wickets at their disposal. It was anybody’s game.
The DareDevils had stand-in captain Dinesh Karthik (56 off 40) going strong with some lusty hits while the Knights knew they had the bowling attack that could win them the match.
The 15th, 16th and the 17th overs, bowled by Sunil Narine, Morkel and Piyush Chawla respectively, didn’t cost the Knights too many runs. They gave away just 18 in those three overs, which meant that the DareDevils needed 32 from the next three. The match till then was tilted in the Knights’ favour.
When Gautam Gambhir entrusted Morkel with the responsibility of the 18th over, it only looked to be the most sensible decision which any captain could take. The fiery South African pacer had bowled impressively till then, giving away just 20 in his three overs.
But thereafter, the complexion of the match was completely turned on its head. Duminy first slammed Morkel over mid-off for a boundary, then pulled him over deep square leg for a six and scooped a low full toss over fine leg for another stunning over-boundary. In between, Morkel bowled a wide delivery down the leg side trying to bounce off Duminy. The 30-year-old left-handed batsman tried another scoop off the last delivery of the over, but had to be satisfied with just two runs.
So off the 21 runs scored in the 18th over, Duminy got 20. And then, the DareDevils required just 11 runs from the last 12 balls.
What was a mountainous climb till an over back was brought down to a molehill’s height. From there, it was always the DareDevils’ match to lose. They didn’t.
Narine, like it is usually with him, bowled an excellent 19th over, giving away just 5 runs.
But that wasn’t enough as Duminy clobbered Chawla, who bowled the last over, for a six over the backward square leg boundary to take his team home with three balls to spare.
Duminy proved that though T20 is played at a frenetic pace, a calm head is what is needed the most.
Duminy, who had scored a 67 not out in the DareDevils’ loss to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match, won the Man of the Match Trophy.
Buried under Duminy’s heroics were many a good performances from the Knights, who didn’t at all played badly on the day. Narine’s superb bowling (4-0-18-1), young Manish Pandey’s mature knock (48 off 42) in crisis, Robin Uthappa’s fluent fifty (55 off 41) — all in the end turned out to be in a lost cause.
Gambhir was out for a duck on Saturday, his second on the trot in IPL VII. The Knights’ captain must gather himself quickly to cover the distance between the ducks and Duminy.