“They (Delhi Daredevils) played an extra bowler today with Liam Plunkett coming in and he did pretty well, so I guess they produced the wicket playing to their strengths,” said Kings XI Punjab’s Andrew Tye in the post-match press conference after his side downed the home side at Feroz Shah Kotla.
It’s true as well, seeing that Delhi Daredevils made no less than five changes to their side, including the additions of Plunkett and Avesh Khan to strengthen the pace battery, and Daniel Christian coming in to replace Chris Morris. The plan seemed to work well as well, as they managed to restrict KXIP to a low score of 143/8.
But learning from the prowess of their opponents, the KXIP bowlers under the guidance of Ravichandran Ashwin went one step ahead, as they defended this tricky target to win by the narrowest of margins. And they did it with just five specialist bowlers too.
“We might have been a bowler short, but I think it all worked out since we won,” claimed Tye. With just the five specialist bowlers in the side, there is always the added pressure and onus on them all to deliver, since there is no cushion for protection. This is all the more important when defending a sub-par target, and the KXIP bowlers did their job to a tee.
In an unusual ploy, Ashwin started off with 6 overs of pace up front rather than throwing the ball to a spinner in the Powerplay, as he usually does. With the purchase the seamers were getting, it was a good plan too, underscored all the more by Ankit Rajpoot’s display, who was bowled out by the seventh over with 2/23 to his name – the best bowler in the innings.
Thought #KingsXI defended really well. Made 143 look like a bigger total. Eventually it was wickets in the first 6 overs and Ankit Rajpoot was excellent there— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 23 April 2018
“I am very happy because this was my second match for KXIP, and I did a good job for them. Getting wickets was my responsibility for the team, and I wanted to bowl without too many variations,” asserted Rajpoot, who also won the Man of the Match award.
Tye was worth his weight in gold as well, picking up two wickets as well, and also getting his hands on the much-coveted Purple Cap. In Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, there were 8 more economical overs, with Mujeeb also picking up wickets on his very first and last ball alike. The only bowler to go for some stick was Barinder Sran who was plundered for 41 runs in his first three overs but did an excellent job in the 19th over to concede just 4 runs. The performance proved that the entire bowling attack is capable of holding their nerve in the hardest of situations.
I thought the key to the defence of 143 was an excellent 19th over by Barinder Sran that gave Mujeeb enough in the bank to defend.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 23 April 2018
“This was a game we needed to go through and win if we want to go further in the league. When you defend a low total, you know you can bank on anybody and everybody to go the distance,” Ashwin pointed out in the post-match presentation.