Kagiso Rabada scored 44 off 39 balls with 4 boundaries and 1 six © AFP
Kagiso Rabada scored 44 off 39 balls with 4 boundaries and 1 six © AFP

Very little was known about the batting credentials of a young fast bowler from South Africa who made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for Delhi Daredevils (DD) against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Saturday night. But henceforth, Kagiso Rabada will not only be looked upon as a young quick who terrorises batsmen across formats, but someone who can play a key role in spirited fightbacks with the bat — an example of which was witnessed at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Making his IPL debut, Rabada notched up his highest T20 score of 44, and in the process added a monumental 91 runs with compatriot Chris Morris. They somewhat revived Delhi from an embarrassing situation, but winning the game proved to be too much to ask for. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Delhi Daredevils (DD), IPL 10, Match 25

Morris and Rabada’s gritty 91-run stand for the seventh wicket was not enough for Daredevils, who lost their 2017 clash against MI by 14 runs. The win on Saturday night was sixth on the trot for Mumbai, who have now recorded their second-best stint in IPL.  Chasing a modest 143 to win, Delhi made a horrendous start, with Mitchell McClenaghan’s three-wicket burst reducing the visiting side to an embarrassing 24 for 6 inside the first 7 overs. But Rabada showed tremendous skills as a batsman, middling the ball on most of the occasions and weathering the storm — a philosophy on which Daredevils mentor Rahul Dravid’s career thrived on. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Delhi Daredevils (DD), IPL 10, Match 25

In what should have been a comfortable chase for DD, the visitors slumped to 21 for 5 inside 5 overs, which all but sealed their fate. The procession began in the first over, when Sanju Samson and Aditya Tare attempted a needless single, which resulted in the dismissal of the latter with Hardik Pandya doing a fine job with a direct hit.

Samson was the next to be dismissed, guilty of playing on the up and hitting straight to Rohit Sharma at mid-off. Samson was the first wicket of McClenaghan, who went on to take two more wickets in that spell. Shreyas Iyer went next, poking at a delivery that should have been left alone. Iyer tried working around a short, wide ball on the leg-side, getting a faint edge; Parthiv Patel did the rest.

Corey Anderson lasted 3 balls before a delivery nipped back in trapped him in front of the wickets, hitting the top of his back foot. The ball would have clipped the bails on its way. In what turned out to be a nightmare for the Daredevils batsmen, Rishabh Pant was caught at first slip for a third-ball duck as well. After resisting the Mumbai bowlers for a while, Karun Nair fell for cheap again when he played one on to his wickets off Hardik Pandya, leaving the Daredevils tottering at 24 for 6.

This was when Rabada and Morris got together. For the uninitiated, it was certainly a surprise to see Rabada coming ahead of Morris, but Rabada proved the decision right with one of the grittiest innings seen in this IPL. He batted with caution when the ball moved around, but did not shy away from hitting his strokes. When Harbhajan Singh was looking for his 200th IPL wicket, Rabada even danced down to hit the bowler over long-off for six.

While Morris and Rabada kept rotating the strike and took Delhi Daredevils past 50 and then 100, it looked like a victory was after all not far from Delhi’s reach. However, while Rabada played his part well in holding on at one end, Morris could not really get those quick runs.

Mumbai Indians, who remained at the pinnacle of the IPL 2017 points table with this victory, pounced upon the chance of creating pressure with dot balls and tight lines to pull things back in control. The pressure only kept mounting on the Delhi batsmen, who eventually fell short by 14 runs.

For his terrific spell which broke the back of Delhi’s chase, McClenaghan was awarded with the Man of the Match.

Earlier in the game, Amit Mishra’s spell of 4-0-18-2 and Pat Cummins’ 4-0-20-2 ensured DD restricted MI to a modest total of 142 for 8 in their 20 overs. Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard contributed with 28 and 26 respectively.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians 142 for 8 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 28, Kieron Pollard 26; Amit Mishra 2 for 18, Pat Cummins 2 for 20) vs Delhi Daredevils 128 for 7 in 20 overs (Kagiso Rabada 44, Chris Morris 52*; Mitchell McClenaghan 3 for 24, Jasprit Bumrah 2 for 21) by 14 runs.

Man of the Match: Mitchell McClenaghan.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Delhi Daredevils (DD), IPL 10, Match 25