In a match billed as a battle of equals, Delhi Capitals pipped Kings XI Punjab in Super Over to begin their campaign on a rousing note in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Needing only three runs in the Super Over, Delhi Capitals raced to target in just two balls. Rishabh Pant flicked the Mohammed Shami delivery for two runs to seal the deal much to the jubilation of his teammates.
Earlier, chasing a challenging target of 158, Kings XI Punjab rallied back superbly after the initial hiccups to reach on the threshold of victory. However, some hara-kiri in the final moments cost them the match.
Mayank Agarwal waged a lone battle for Kings XI Punjab with a fighting knock of 89 (60 balls, 7×4, 4×6). He was out when they needed just a run to win. Needing 42 off the last 18 balls, Agarwal changed gears to take his team to a close by knocking out 17 runs in the 18th over.
It all boiled down to the last over with Kings XI Punjab needing 12 to win. Agarwal started the final over with a clean six. Then he took a couple to inch closer to the target. He levelled the scores with a boundary to long off. The opener wanted to finish off in style but was caught at the cover fence. Then hero of the day for Delhi Capitals Marcus Stoinis came up with a wicket as Rabada took a blinder at square-leg to force the Super Over.
It was almost a perfect evening for Kings XI Punjab early in the day. Their skipper KL Rahul won the toss and his bowlers justified the decision by bowling brilliantly, particularly in the first 16 overs. Fielders also offered excellent support to restrict Delhi Capitals.
Kings XI Punjab medium-pacer Mohd Shami is the most experienced bowler in the team and he lived up to his expectations with a lively spell. Shami’s accurate bowling derailed Delhi Capitals’s innings from the beginning. He finished with a fine figures of 3 for 15 from his four overs.
Put in to bat, Delhi Capitals were off to a disastrous start and could never recover. Some late onslaught by Marcus Stoinis helped them reach a respectable total of 154 for 8. In-form striker Stoinis hammered a swashbuckling 53 off just 21 deliveries to take his side to a somewhat challenging total. The Australian all-rounder struck seven fours and three explosive sixes to give his side the much-needed momentum in the last four overs.
Earlier, poor understanding between Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw resulted in run out of former without opening his account. Even Shaw (5) didn’t last long. Shimron Hetmyer (7) also failed to deliver as Delhi Capitals were tottering at 32 for 3 at the end of eight overs.
Although captain Shreyas Iyer (39, 32 balls, 3×6) and Rishabh Pant (31, 29 balls, 4×4) were involved in a small partnership, they couldn’t accelerate the scoring rate.
Iyer smashed three towering sixes straight down the ground, he was dismissed trying to hit another one after scoring 39.
Debutant leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi impressed with his accuracy. Barring Stoinis, Iyer and Pant none of the Delhi Capitals batsmen could even reach the double-digit scores.
Delhi Capitals 157-8 in 20 overs (Marcus Stoinis 53, Shreyas Iyer 39, Rishabh Pant 31; Mohammed Shami 3-15, Sheldon Cottrell 2-24, Ravi Bishnoi 1-22) tied with Kings XI Punjab 157-8 in 20 overs (Mayank Agarwal 89, KL Rahul 21, Krishnappa Gowtham 20, Sarfaraz Khan 12; R Ashwin 2-2, K Rabada 2-28, Marcus Stoinis 2-29, Axar Patel 1-14, Mohit Sharma 1-45).
Super Over: Kings XI Punjab 2-2 lost to Delhi Capitals 3-0 in 0.2 overs.
Man-of-the-match: Marcus Stoinis (DC).
Kohli’s RCB to meet SRH in Dubai on Monday
India’s biggest superstar Virat Kohli will swing into action for the first time in this year’s IPL when his Royal Challenges Bangalore (RCB) will square off against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday.
It will be the third match of the thirteenth edition of IPL and first for these two teams. The Hyderabad side, led by Australian attacking opener David Warner, had shocked RCB in the 2016 final to claim their first title. Warner and company will be trying hard to regain the title after four years. Besides Warner, the other key players for SRH are New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, middle-order batsman Manish Pandey and swing master Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
RCB is considered as the most underachieved team in the history of the cash rich league. Despite having the best of players in their ranks, the Virat Kohli’s outfit have never managed to emerge victorious. RCB were unlucky to lose three IPL finals. Overall the Bangalore-based side were pretty inconsistent and even finished at the bottom of the league on a couple of occasions.
Kohli will certainly try hard to break that title jinx this season, away from home. He will have to inspire his boys with big scores from his blade. Kohli’s best friend AB de Villiers, leggie Yuzvendra Chahal and Vidarbha fast bowler Umesh Yadav will have to rise to the occasion to change the fortunes of RCB.