After putting Delhi to bat first, Punjab’s bowlers gave them the happy news with quick wickets before a Dhawan-Pant partnership propelled Delhi to a total of 156/7. In the run chase, after Agarwal’s dismissal, Punjab found themselves in a steep downfall, losing wickets in a heap in a 42-run loss.
After being sent in to bat, Delhi got themselves off on the wrong foot, with the early dismissal of Prithvi Shaw with no runs on board. However, naturally, that changed with Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane bailing the side out of the rough waters with a 59-run partnership. While the partnership looked steady, Rahane was undone by a brilliant delivery from Mohammed Shami, which sparked a mini-collapse, with Shreyas Iyer too walking back with the score reading 66/3. Then walked in Rishabh Pant, who had no idea that he was going to change the innings around alongside Dhawan. Slowly, yet steadily, the duo started putting on a partnership that took them over the 100 run mark before Pant’s acceleration thrilled the crowd. A 32-ball 55 from the keeper was more than enough to take Delhi to a total of 156 for the loss of seven wickets.
In reply, Punjab too got put their foot under the wheel, when KL Rahul walked back for a lacklustre 2 off 9 balls. While Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal showcased a positive brand of batting, scoring 28 runs by the end of the fifth over. However, Agarwal’s dismissal kick-started a batting collapse, with Gayle and Maxwell, too, walking back without adding any more to the total. From 28/1, they found themselves in a catastrophic position, at 52/5 where the game looked lost. Despite Pooran’s 24-ball 29 and a Test-like innings from Gowtham, the Punjab side could not get anywhere close to the target, falling short by 42 runs.
In any T20 encounter around the world, if there is one revered opener, who is feared by all the bowlers it is Chris Gayle. The tall Jamaican who is known for his game-changing ability quickly was turned into a mere spectator in the eight over of the innings by his nemesis Ravichandran Ashwin, which changed the game. Until then, Gayle scored a 21-ball 25, where he smashed two sixes.
Highs and Lows
While Dhawan’s innings and his composure surely looked like one of the bright points in this particular fixture, fellow southpaw Rishabh Pant stole the limelight. While the Delhi opener’s approach was a tad slow, Pant’s approach was strikingly different in a more swashbuckling fashion, as he tore open the Punjab bowling attack with his willow, scoring a 32-ball 55, including five boundaries and two sixes.
Just when the doctor ordered KXIP’s skipper to pick himself up and land a sucker punch on Delhi, Rahul failed. He took nine deliveries to help himself settle in the innings, in the early phase of the run chase. When Kagiso Rabada walked into bowl, the fear quickly turned into a nightmare for Rahul, who was found poking at the ball, straight into Ashwin’s hands as Punjab were off to the worst possible start at 10/1.
Powerplay exploitation: DC 6.5/10 and KXIP 2/10
While Delhi Capitals, after being put to bat, might have expected a blazing start, it was the opposite that turned out to be the reality. In the first over, on the second delivery, Mujeeb ur Rahman got Prithvi Shaw’s number, with a stunning delivery even before they could put a run on board. However, soon after that, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane scripted another tale, with four boundaries and one six in the span of 18 deliveries to put the momentum back in Delhi’s favour, getting the score to 28/1. The partnership intensified in the sixth over, when Rahane launched an assault on Mujeeb, scoring 17 runs to take them to a respectable score of 51 after the first phase.
The sight of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle at the top of the order surely would have put fear to the home bowlers. However, that was not the case as they were unperturbed by the two big names as KL Rahul fell to Kagiso Rabada’s top-class delivery. Former RCB pair of Gayle-Agarwal tried to resurrect the innings with no avail as Ishant Sharma accounted for Mayank Agarwal, with the score just reading 35. The tourists could only put up 35 runs at the end of the sixth over mark.
Middle-overs manoeuvring: DC 7/10 and KXIP 3.5/10
At 51/1, the momentum was with the home side, who really put on a show after the early blow. However, just as soon as they started putting up the numbers, Shami accounted for Rahane, who scored a 23-ball 28. Gowtham removed Iyer immediately putting the pressure back on Delhi, who were reduced to 74/3. Twin boundaries from Rishabh Pant kick-started a late propel towards a big score before Dhawan joined in the party. On the back of the opener’s 42-ball 51 and Pant’s 18-ball 31, the Capitals got themselves to 117/4.
Just after the powerplay phase ended, Punjab’s hopes of chasing down the total too started slowly fading. In just the seventh over, Glenn Maxwell walked back for a four-ball two before Chris Gayle joined him back in the dressing room, with only 13 runs added to the powerplay score. One of Mumbai’s Ranji heroes, Sarfraz Khan could not resist the offer of having a quick tea, scoring just the three as KXIP were restricted to 50/5. Nicholas Pooran and Krishnappa Gowtham, however, ensured that they go even deeper into the pit, adding 38 runs additionally on the board.
Death bowling: DC 9/10 and KXIP 5/10
Towards the end, the plans were simple for the home side, to go all-out attack. However, as simple as it sounds, KXIP’s strong bowling unit were not going to fall easy prey to it, which required Pant to return back to his familiar fore. Just as Delhi were picking themselves up and throwing the Punjab bowlers away, the Windies pacer Sheldon Cottrell sparked an incredible comeback, dismissing Stoinis. Subsequently, it rubbed off on Mujeeb who picked up Keemo Paul’s wicket before Cottrell completed with Ashwin’s wicket. Through all this action, Pant’s stay ensured that Delhi possessed the firepower to score 156/7, scoring 39 runs during the last phase.
Delhi were spot on with their bowling throughout the innings, more specifically in the end overs, when the asking rate grew itself bigger on the tourists. First, it was Lamichhane, whose bowling seemed a bigger mystery than KL Rahul’s form to dismiss Nicholas Pooran and later it was Ashwin himself, who accounted for Gowtham. Ishant Sharma too was not far behind as he joined the party to send his fellow Indian pacer Shami back to the hut. It was just a formality in the end, as they crashed to a 42-run loss against Delhi.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Terrible
The contest was terribly one-sided, with Delhi swaying their momentum in their favour, all thanks to Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant. The duo truly put on a show for the fans, scoring at a steady pace, which was the only highlights from the entire encounter.
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