Australian cricketers have often been the bane of Zaheer Khan right from the 2003 World Cup. When his side, Delhi Daredevils, faced Kings XI Punjab in their ninth match of the 2016 Indian Premier League, his demons seemed to surface once again as Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis put in the performance of a lifetime and took the game away from the Daredevils.
Scoring a responsible half century as an opener, Stoinis then rattled the batting by dismissing the well-set openers before going on to further assert his dominance with a third strike against the Daredevils, this time by leading the death bowling, to send them packing.
Taking a trip down memory lane, the match in question was played on May 7, 2016 at sadda Mohali. Batting first, KXIP planned on mixing things up a bit, and sent Stoinis out to open. Though predominantly a middle order batsman, this kangaroo lion is no stranger to opening the innings – often used as a floater in the batting line-up. He scored a steady 52 in 44 balls to provide a base for the remainder of the innings in which the team put up an impressive 181/5. Riddled with three boundaries and two maximums, Stoinis showed a great understanding of Indian conditions as he went about doing his job to the tee.
The pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Carlos Brathwaite and even Zaheer Khan were taken for runs and carted to all parts of the ground. They conceded 89 runs in the 10 overs they bowled between themselves. The opposition, though, also had similar plans.
With the Delhi Daredevils openers, Quinton de Kock and Sanju Samson, going all guns blazing, Stoinis too went for some stick to start with. They amassed 70 runs for the first wicket before Stoinis’ cutters took their first victim in the form of de Kock soon after he reached his half century.
But things weren’t done for Delhi as the brought up another 50-run stand for the second wicket, this time with Karun Nair joining the fray and taking the score to a strong 121/1 in the 14th over. It took another Stoinis special cutter to get Samson to hole out in the deep. With both the dangermen back in the pavilion the roads finally opened up for the KXIP bowlers to bring the team back into the game.
In the closing overs, with 44 needed off the last 4 overs, Stoinis set the tone for a classic death bowling assault. He dismissed Sam Billings cheaply, allowing Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma to do the rest.
With figures of 3/40, Stoinis showed glimpses of the famed ‘world-beater’ Australian bowling line up.
Over the past few years, Stoinis has gone on to become one of the key members of the Aussie side in the shortest format of the game, and the fact that KXIP used their RTM card for him is a clear indication that he will do the same for his IPL franchise. Given the chance, he will show what Stoin-is all about!
36th match (N), Indian Premier League at Chandigarh, May 7 2016
Kings XI Punjab 181 for 5 (M.P. Stoinis 52) beat
Delhi Daredevils 172 for 5 (M.P. Stoinis 3-40)