From the cool shots he played, one may think that JP Duminy was calm and composed to help the Delhi DareDevils pull off a difficult chase against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
But after the four-wicket win, Duminy, the Man of the Match, revealed that he was “far from calm” inside during his unbeaten knock of 52 off 35 balls.
The South African smashed 21 runs of the 18th over bowled by compatriot Morne Morkel, but was humble enough to say that it was just an off day for the pacer.
Dinesh Karthik, the DareDevils’ stand-in captain, was undoubtedly happy with the result. He was satisfied with his own batting and relieved that he could prove that his team is capable of chasing stiff targets.
Knights’ captain Gautam Gambhir admitted that having scored 166 for five, they were optimistic of a victory. He, however, lauded Duminy for his superb innings and said that the defeat is a “bitter pill” for them to swallow.
Gambhir also pointed out that there was dew on the ground which made it difficult for the spinners to grip the ball. Chasing 167, the DareDevils lost opener Murali Vijay in the very first over through a run out.
When the team score was 39, they lost their second wicket in the form of Mayank Agarwal (26). But the fall of wickets didn't dampen DareDevils’ chase as they maintained a healthy run rate.
That is the reason why despite losing the likes of Ross Taylor (6) and Manoj Tiwary (8) cheaply, they never panicked.
The DareDevils needed 50 runs off the last six overs. The match was tilted towards the Knights at the end of 17 overs. But then, Duminy unleashed a combination of power and improvisation to steal 21 runs of the 18th over. Sunil Narine tried to pull things back bowling a relatively tight 19th over. But with six runs required off the last over, the DareDevils were always the favourites.
Piyush Chawla beat Jimmy Neesham with the first delivery of the last over and dismissed him off the next ball. But Duminy smashed a six off the third ball to clinch victory for his side.
Despite Gambhir's observation that it was difficult out there for the spinners, Sunil Narine was the most successful bowler for the Knights, giving away just 18 runs from his four overs and taking a wicket as well. The Knights' next game is on Thursday, against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Dinesh Karthik: We knew we had a tough task at hand straightaway because when you are chasing more than 160 runs, you are always up against the run-rate.
After getting out for nought in the first match, I was determined to do well in this game. And I just wanted to show that we could chase down big totals against good bowling attacks… I wanted to show that it could be done.
We have a new team and we have one win on the board now… We would like to keep that going, but we will take it slowly. We have a solid coach (Gary Kirsten) who doesn’t get excited by difficult times very easily… And the boys are all charged up. And then we have Duminy, who is a super person and a super player. He is key to our batting line-up… He is batting beautifully and hopefully he can continue getting runs for the team.
Gautam Gambhir: Once you get 165 on any kind of wicket, you start feeling that you are in with a chance with the kind of attack we have. But apparently, there was some dew on the wicket, and it becomes difficult for the spinners to bowl well under such conditions.
Moreover, Duminy played an unbelievable innings. He was complemented well by Karthik too. We tried our level best, but ended up on the losing side. Their batsman played brilliantly. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but we have a long way to go in the tournament.
JP Duminy (MoM): I was far from calm inside, that is for sure. It was just about focusing and getting the runs. I realised there was no use of taking all the pressure on myself. There was a partnership for that. It was very important to keep communicating with my partner.
While chasing targets like these, we certainly would not go after Sunil Narine. We all know what kind of a bowler he is… You got to target certain other bowlers that you fancy yourself to take on.
I hadn’t planned to go after Morkel. I was lucky that he had an off day. I had the better of him, but I am sure that next time, he will go for my head. I am hitting the ball well, hopefully I can keep it going for sometime.