One of the highly awaited encounters in the IPL, Delhi took on the Kings XI Punjab in a contest that seemingly looked one-sided until Marcus Stoinis stepped in with his performance. While Ashwin’s over looked to change it in Delhi’s favour, Mayank Agarwal had other ideas with a scintillating knock.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals (Stoinis 53 and Shami 3-15) beat KXIP 157/8 (Mayank Agarwal 89 and Ashwin 2-2) (in super over)
Delhi’s ‘ruthless’ rustiness at top of the order
Well, it was widely expected that only the opening match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians was guaranteed to be an epitome of rustiness. In reality, however, Delhi Capitals and Ricky Ponting were laughing at them in Dubai, with their batsmen in terrible shape and form. Hailed as one of the best top-order in the competition, the franchise just went all-or-nothing in their approach, which was highly stupid. If they did learn something from the first game, it is that method of madness does not always guarantee you the right result. Today, it was evidently visible, as the Delhi top-order just had one mode of approach, which is ‘attack the hell out of every delivery’. If this is going to be their approach for the rest of the season, then they won’t even reach the play-off stage, sadly!
Ravi Bishnoi is here to stay!
Under Anil Kumble, Ravi Bishnoi had a unique opportunity in front of him, the chance to showcase his god-like control and a plethora of variations behind his long run-up. He was immediately given the nod to play in the first game against two of the best players of spin in the country - Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Immediately from the first over, he impressed the lot with his bowling, turning the ball to and fro from the two batsmen. After giving away just 12 runs from the first two overs, it was evident that Pant was aiming to score some quick runs off him. The Indian star was quite successful in his first attempt with a boundary but immediately was undone by the wrong-un that created havoc in several U-19 dressing rooms. In a loud and bold statement, Bishnoi delivers that he is here to stay!
Before the final over, a Cricvizz post on Twitter showed some interesting numbers - Chris Jordan against Marcus Stoinis, 62 runs off just 30 deliveries as the cameras panned towards the two in the middle. Could Stoinis keep up the momentum or would Jordan get the much-need comeback against the Australian? As it turned out, Stoinis really has a liking to Jordan’s bowling, as he smashed him for six, four, four, four and another six to cap it off before eventually getting out to the all-rounder. But by then the damage was already done, wasn’t it? He had already scored 24 runs off Jordan as he took another encounter in his favour with that! So the next time KXIP do their planning, they better be prepared for a ‘Jordan’ size issue in the death or a ‘Stoinis’ like obstacle from the other end.
Sarfraz Khan can’t anchor an innings
Well, I for one thought that after the resurrection in the Ranji Trophy season, the Mumbaikar was finally amongst runs and was back to the form that he showed in the first place during his stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore. But I was wrong, terribly once again as what I witnessed was just a terrible T20 innings from the right-hander. With the side in a precarious position at 52/4, as a batsman, your only job is to score runs but what he did was beyond acceptable. The Mumbaikar went to participate in a heavy swing in the air contest, which he rightly won after his shot. After two boundaries, all that was required from him was to anchor the team till the end of 15th over before they could go for the kill. As it stands, he can’t anchor the innings, which really put the Punjab middle over in bad lights!
Mayank Agarwal still effective in T20s
While KL Rahul was going for the kill early on in the innings, Mayank Agarwal had the best seat in the house, watching it all from the non-striker’s end. However, once he got out, the responsibility shifted to his shoulders, in the absence of any sort of experience in Punjab’s middle-order. The Karnataka man took his time, waited patiently for the right delivery and started to tonk the ball when things got late for the Kings XI. His selection of shots too was incredible, the way he knocked Anrich Nortje for two boundaries in one over. If you think he was done, he was clearly not as he continued to show his aggression in the next over, where he smashed him for another set of boundaries. Against Mohit Sharma, he got the right shots to suggest that he should still be in the shortlist for the shortest format.