Eliminated Delhi Capitals surge climactic victory in Dharamsala to dash Punjab Kings’ playoff hopes
A lucky 94 from Liam Livingstone goes in vain as Delhi Capitals end up with the last laugh despite fielding casualties in a run-feast at Dharamsala.
Winning the toss, Shikhar Dhawan, the captain of Punjab Kings elected to bowl first. Sam Curran starred with the new ball for PBKS and the returnee, Kagiso Rabada accompanied him from the other end. They conceded just 6 runs in the first two overs. Fast-forwarded a few more balls, and Delhi Capitals got to kiss the fifty-run mark halfway through the fifth over. 38 runs off which came in the form of boundaries – five fours and three sixes.
After a good-looking boundary from Prithvi Shaw, David Warner whacked two magnificent sixes in the fourth over off Rabada. Shaw built the partnership on that momentum, bulldozing two fours and a six against Arshdeep Singh in his first over itself. On a hard Dharmashala surface, the ball was gushing through and at the end of the powerplay, the scoreboard saw 61-0.
Spin was introduced after the first strategic time-out and it worked to some extent, minimizing the run-scoring flow by mere margins. Warner was dropped by Rahul Chahar in the 10th over off Nathan Ellis but Sam Curran managed to outsmart the DC skipper as he failed to middle on an aerial attempt and Shikhar Dhawan held onto a fantastic grasp.
Just when the Kings would’ve thought to apply brakes on the run-galloping momentum of the visitors, Rilee Rossouw hindered their moto. He took Rabada for a tour around Dharmashala with a six, four, and another six on trott in the 13th over. Eventually, Shaw racked up his 13th IPL fifty and his maiden in IPL 2023.
After the 94-run opening partnership, Shaw and Rossouw added 54 runs off just 29 balls together for the second wicket. While the Mumbai prodigy fell to a bait from Curran in the 15th over, Phil Salt joined hands with the Proteas southpaw.
Nathan Ellis was tonked apart for two sixes and a four in the penultimate over of the innings by Salt. It was followed by a gamble from skipper Shikhar Dhawan who pushed Harpreet Brar for the final over of the innings, skipping Arshdeep Singh who already had one left from his quota.
The over kicked off with a heave from Rossouw off a juicy full-toss, that landed over the ropes. A four and a six followed, and very clearly the Dhawan-Brar duo was under the pump. 23 runs were soaked off the over and the scoreboard displayed 213-2 at the end of the 20 overs.
Rossouw, who gelled his first IPL fifty, finished with 82 runs off 37 balls, followed by Shaw’s 54 runs off 38 balls, and David Warner’s 46 runs off 31. Sam Curran was the only one to bag wickets for PBKS and had two under his name.
Arriving for the chase, the home side lost their skipper early. Khaleel Ahmed initiated the first over, kept things tight, and Ishant Sharma capitalized. The Delhi pacer removed his state-mate- Shikhar Dhawan who departed for a golden duck.
A 49-run partnership followed between Prabhsimran Singh and Atharva Taide which acted as the bedrock to the chase. The edges were flying short of the DC fielders and Prabhsimran had survived twice at the cusp of the powerplay before getting nested in the hands of Yash Dhull off Axar Patel.
A 78-run partnership between Liam Livingstone and Taide succeeded with a plethora of caught-out chances being put down. Three catches were put down off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav which eventually led to a Livingstone rampage at Dharamsala.
Taide was strategically retired-out by the team management in an act to bring Jitesh Sharma into the scene. Unfortunately, things didn’t unfurl as desired, the Vidarbha-batter went dismissed for a duck.
Livingstone was the lone warrior and left out of assistance as Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, and Harpreet Brar failed to do the needful. Impact sub, Mukesh Kumar spilled 21 runs in the 18th over which narrowed the margins for Punjab Kings, curtailing to 38 runs needed off the last two overs.
A fantastic 19th over from Anrich Nortje widened the fringe for PBKS who needed to tame 33 off the final over. Despite a six and a four within the first three balls of the 20th over, the equation was quite tilted towards the visitors. A no-ball six on the fourth ball created unrealistic drama and brought in a brink of hope for the Kings. But Alas Punjab fans, Ishant Sharma kept calm and turned the table, denying a win to PBKS and a century to Livingstone.
It was indeed a morale-boosting victory for the Delhi Capitals who are already out of contention for the playoffs. They have earned ten points from 13 encounters and will battle out against the Chennai Super Kings on their home turf on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the road to the IPL playoffs have become more difficult for the Punjab Kings as they stay jammed at 12 points from 13 matches. They will play their final game of the league stage against Rajasthan Royals on Friday evening.