Jason Roy marked his IPL debut for Delhi Daredevils with a matchwinning 91 off 53 balls in a last-ball thriller in Mumbai.
His innings, which included six fours and as many sixes, helped Delhi chase down Mumbai Indians’ 194-7 on Saturday at the Wankhede. The seven-wicket win was their first of the 2018 edition.
“That is what you call an extraordinary innings,” gushed Rishab Pant, with whom Roy shared a 69-run partnership for the third wicket.
With 11 needed off the last over bowled by Mustafizur Rahman, Roy began by smashing the bowler for a four over cover and a six over fine-leg. But then came three successive deliveries where he wasn’t able to get bat on ball, and nerves were fraught. His swing finally made contact and they managed a single to wrap up the last-gasp win.
“There was more relief, really,” admitted Roy with a laugh after the match. “I made it a lot more hard work than it should have been!”
“We knew he has the strength and the capability,” said Gautam Gambhir, the captain, and Roy’s opening partner. “He’s a class player… If he keeps going like this, we’re a dangerous side.”
This wasn’t Roy’s first big knock at Wankhede. At the World T20 in 2016 he kicked off England’s record chase of 230 against South Africa, smashing 43 off 16 balls, and he thrived in the conditions again. In this stint in India, he’s also hoping to work on his game.
“What I’m doing is coming over here and spending a lot of time in the nets facing spin, learning different methods, different techniques, and trying to find a way of scoring runs over here against spin – because the hardest part of coming here is playing spin,” he said.
For Mumbai, it was another occasion of snatching defeat from victory. Their 194-7 was built on contributions from the top three of Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, and Ishan Kishen.
Yadav, who was promoted to open the innings with Lewis, top-scored with a 32-ball 53, putting to use his experience of playing domestic cricket at the Wankhede.
“I said I don’t mind opening the innings because I have played most of my cricket here and I know how the wicket behaves with the new ball, so I said let’s take the responsibility and go ahead,” said Yadav, who is second on the 2018 IPL run-scoring charts at the time of writing with 124 runs from three matches. “I have always enjoyed batting higher up the order in this format because you get that extra time to go out there and express yourself.”