Hyderabad got back to winning ways on Tuesday by defeating a free-flowing Delhi side by 15 runs.
Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer, after winning the toss, decided to put Hyderabad to bat, and despite a slow start, the 2016 Indian T20 League winners rode on the back of Kane Williamson's quickfire 41 to post 162/4 on board. For the first time this season, David Warner's men looked confident with the ball, as three of their five bowlers maintained an economy under 7. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan did a majority of damage as Hyderabad posted their first victory of 2020.
That said, here are key talking points from the game.
Amit Mishra has still got it
At 37 years of age, leg-spinner Amit Mishra is still going strong. The loss of Ravichandran Ashwin is indeed a big one for Delhi, but the replacement the team brought in is also capable of turning the tides.
Only a place behind Lasith Malinga in the list of most wickets in the Indian T20 League, the former Hyderabad leggie bowled a brilliant spell on Tuesday. He did concede 35 runs at an economy of 8.75 in his four overs, but picking out two important wickets of David Warner and Manish Pandey gave his team a huge sigh of relief. One wicket more and he would have reached the 100-wicket mark for Delhi in the Indian T20 League.
Good to see the exp. Campaigner @MishiAmit proving yet again why traditional leggies are an asset in T20 Cricket, Bowling above the eye level of the batsman making it difficult to judge the length.— Yogesh Golwalkar (@YGolwalkar) September 29, 2020
Young leggies in IPL 2020 should learn & focus more on genuine legbreaks #DCvsSRH
Furthermore, six balls out of the total 24 balls he bowled were dots. A detailed bifurcation of his spell reads:
Table: Amit Mishra against Hyderabad batsmen
Kane Williamson should be in Hyderabad's XI
The inability of Hyderabad's middle-order to jot down runs in the second half of the play has time and again been a talking point. This year too, they have been hit hard. In their opening game of the tournament, against Bangalore, those coming after Manish Pandey scored a mere 34 runs, which counts for a measly 22.2% of team’s total. It was the same story against Kolkata, but the induction of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson against Delhi gave Hyderabad a bit of a boost in the first innings.
Jonny Bairstow and David Warner had hit a solitary boundary between them in first five overs, and following the dismissal of Manish Pandey, they needed someone to up the ante. Williamson provided just that by scoring a quick-fire 41 off 26 balls. If not for the Kiwi, the HYD middle-order would have certainly collapsed like a house of cards; as they have done several times in the past.
Axar Patel is Delhi's trump card
The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan are rightly expected to grab the headlines, but one cannot overlook the contribution of Axar Patel in this Delhi team. The 26-year-old all-rounder has picked wickets in double digits in five of his last six seasons (excluding the 2020 season), and while he may have just scalped one so far this season, he's definitely kept his opposition in check.
Against Punjab, in the opening game, Patel ended with a figure of 14/1 in his four overs. Against Chennai, he conceded 18 for one and on Tuesday, against HYD, he gave away just 14 from his two overs - the second-best economy for DEL on the night- highlighting why he is one of the key elements of this Delhi team.
Rashid Khan back amongst wickets
Defending 162 in the Indian T20 League can get arduous at times, but Hyderabad rode on the back of Rashid Khan's brilliant spell to register their first victory of 2020. The Afghanistan leggie struck in only his second delivery to dismiss Shreyas Iyer and conceded a solitary run in his first over. The 22-year-old went on to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan in his third over to disrupt DEL's momentum. Captain David Warner decided to bring him in the 17th over and the decision worked wonders, as this time, he picked out a dangerous man in Rishabh Pant to bring his team closer to the glory.
It's evident that Hyderabad will need Rashid Khan to be at his usual best if they are to pose any kind of threat going forward. With their batting order not ticking, they are certain to rely on the Afghan. A return on 14/3 is now his best ever bowling figure in the league, eclipsing his previous tally of 19/3 he picked against Punjab in 2018.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / Indian T20 League