The battle to reach 1st in the points table is starting to tighten up in IPL 2016 – with Kolkata Knight Riders, Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils showing strong contingency to reach the top of the points table.

Gujarat Lions vs Delhi Daredevils
Date 03 May 2016
Venue Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
149/7 (20)   150/2 (17.2)
Delhi Daredevils won by 8 wickets

The 31st match of the tournament saw Delhi Daredevils taking on Gujarat Lions – with the latter winning in the last match between these 2 sides but that match was an absolute thriller which Gujarat managed to turn in it’s favor, seizing victory by a whisker 1 run. Gujarat Lions are currently placed 1st in the points table whereas Delhi Daredevils find themselves at 3rd.

Delhi Daredevils won the toss in the all-important match and decided to make a brave change to their line up, dropping Carlos Brathwaite who won man of the match in their last match and was yet dropped, with JP Duminy taking his place. The Delhi management again proved that they believe in a “horses for courses” approach, willing to make bold changes as per playing conditions.

Gujarat Lions saw Finch returning to the side with another foreign player in Bravo missing out due to an injury.

The Smith and McCullum duo at the top which has got Gujarat to many a good starts in the tournament failed in the match as McCullum got out for a low-key score of 1, which was followed by Finch who could only manage 5 – making his return back into the side after a week and then Smith who too had a quite outing of just 15 runs – the Gujarat Lions were 24-3.

Suresh Raina’s 24 in 20 balls did give innings some momentum but it really was Dinesh Kartik’s fifty which played a essential role in helping Gujarat reach to a total of 149 – Jadeja’s 36 in 26 balls came at a crucial phase of the innings and this innings will definitely give him some confidence with the bat, having had a quite season thus far with the bat and nothing particular extraordinary with the ball either.

In it’s chase, the Delhi Daredevils went with Rishab Pant as their opener alongside Quinton De Kock, demoting Sanju Samson to 1st down.

Rishan Pant played for India in the recently concluded u-19 world cup and is an explosive left-handed opening batsman who grabbed quite a few eyeballs during his outing for India in the u-19 world cup; he definitely is a bright future prospect.

Pant, staying true to the kind of talent that is proclaimed of him; smashed an absolutely thundering 69 in just 40 balls which included majority of his runs (around 60%) through the leg side, the fierce power in his shots makes him an absolute threat to the opposition.

He was well supported by De Kock on the other end who took a calmer approach in his innings, making 46 in 45 balls, the strike rate may not be on the higher end and yet Delhi Daredevils were maintain a run rate of over 9 in the 115 run partnership between De Kock and Pant – making a strong case for them to continue as openers in Delhi’s coming matches.

Upon the fall of De Kock and Pant, the final curtain was put down by Samson and Duminy – with 19 and 13 respectively, chasing down the total of 149 in 17.2 overs, a victory that can be aptly put as formidable for the Delhi unit really did shine with the ball, bat and in the field.

After this victory, Gujarat Lions remain at the no.1 spot (with 6 wins in 9 matches) but Delhi Daredevils (with 5 wins in 7 matches) surpass Kolkata Knight Riders (5 wins in 8 matches), who fall back to the 3rd spot and Delhi takes their place at the 2nd spot.

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