It was another high scoring thriller at the Wankhede Stadium in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League, and unfortunately Punjab Kings ended on the wrong side of the result against Delhi Capitals. KL Rahul’s side put on 195 on the board in their first innings, but a brilliant knock by Shikhar Dhawan helped last season’s finalists get there with an over to spare on Sunday. 

Batting first on the night, Punjab Kings made a bright start as Delhi debutant Lukman Meriwala was put under the pump straight away. His first over went for 20 runs, as both KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal got early boundaries under their kitty. 

Agarwal continued to attack, as he picked up consecutive boundaries off Chris Woakes to put the team score to 35/0 after three overs. The runs continued to flow as Rahul and Agarwal got a boundary apiece next up to push the team score past 50. 

Post the powerplay, Delhi introduced the off-spin of Lalit Yadav into the attack, but he was dispatched for two early boundaries by the Punjab Kings skipper to keep the scoring rate at nine an over. Agarwal also targeted the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin next up, plundering a six and a four off it. 

Agarwal got to his fifty shortly after, getting a thick edge off Avesh Khan’s bowling that flew past Rishabh Pant’s head. The Punjab Kings opener then let loose as he greeted Kagiso Rabada with a six over long off. The South African pacer was hooked for two more sixes in that same over, one by Agarwal and the other by Rahul as Punjab raced away to 114/0 after 11.

The 13th over finally provided some respite for Delhi, as Agarwal skied one off the bowling of Meriwala, only to find Dhawan in the deep. The wicket slightly dampened the scoring rate, as the next overs yielded just eight runs. 

KL Rahul however upped the ante once again in the 15th over, getting a four and a six to register his second fifty of IPL 2021, as Punjab’s team score got to 140/1. The Punjab skipper however couldn’t add more to his tally, as he miscued one of Rabada’s bowling to find Marcus Stoinis in the deep. 

New man Deepak Hooda got a six of his very first ball, and fellow batsman Chris Gayle also hit Chris Woakes over point for a maximum shortly after. That however turned out to be the last hurrah for Gayle, who was deceived by a slower ball to leave the scoreboard at 162/3 after 17 overs. 

Hooda got his second six of the game shortly after, but new man Pooran couldn’t get going as he sliced one towards third-man to leave Punjab Kings at 179/4 with an over to spare. Shahrukh Khan struck a few lusty blows in the final over, getting two fours and a six to help his team end strong at 195/4. 

Turning Point

Mohammed Shami’s last over ended up going for 20 runs, which put the chase at a run a ball and helped Delhi get over the line in the end. 

In reply, Delhi Capitals started positively as Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan made the most of the field restrictions, as the team score raced away to 31/0 after three overs. Shaw looked menacing back at his familiar Wankhede Stadium, hitting Jhye Richardson straight back over his head for the second six of the innings.  

Dhawan also began playing his shots, and he hit Mohammed Shami for three fours in his second over to bump the score to 57/0 after five. The next over however brought Punjab their first breakthrough, as Shaw mis-timed one off Arshdeep’s bowling to find the palms of Gayle. 

The wicket temporarily brought down the scoring rate, as the next two overs went for just 13 runs. Dhawan though switched gears seeing part-time Hooda bowling, getting two fours of his overs, and shortly after got to his second fifty of IPL 2021. The southpaw then got his first six of the evening, as the team score got past 100. 

Riley Meredith however got Punjab back in the game, as he dismissed Steve Smith in his very first over with a bouncer. Despite the wickets, Dhawan kept going as he got a couple more boundaries to keep the asking rate at nearly ten an over. The 35-year-old started the 14th over with three consecutive boundaries, getting the asking rate down to below nine for the first time in the game. 

Rishabh Pant got into the act as well, as he flicked Richardson on the leg side for his first six of the game. The Aussie pacer however had the last laugh, as he ended the over with a wicket, dismissing the well set Dhawan for 92. 

New man Marcus Stoinis however carried on from where Dhawan had left off, as he quickly got two fours and a six to leave his team needing just 16 of the last three overs. Richardson managed to break the partnership yet again, as Pant had to walk back to the pavilion thanks to a good, juggling catch by Hooda. 

The damage however was already done, and new man Lalit Yadav further compounded Punjab’s misery by neatly finding the gaps, to help Delhi Capitals get over the line with an over to spare. 

Punjab Kings play their next game on Wednesday against Sunrisers Hyderabad.