Kings XI Punjab managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat in their game against Delhi Capitals, picking up an incredible seven wickets in the last four overs, after taking the game’s second strategic timeout following the 16th over.
The visitors were cruising at 137/3, needing just 34 off the last four when the strategic timeout was enforced. Kings XI Punjab returned from that timeout a totally different side, picking up two wickets off the very next over from Mohammed Shami, including that of the well settled Colin Ingram. From there on, it was all KXIP as they managed to pick up five more wickets in the subsequent overs, bundling out the Delhi Capitals for 152.
“Not very often do you defend 30 odd runs in the last four, so we just had to hang in and I kept telling the boys that the Delhi tail isn’t very good,” said captain Ravichandran Ashwin in the post-match presentation, giving the fans a gist of what he and the team management were discussing in the middle. “We’ve seen Avesh (Khan) and (Sandeep) Lamichhane bat before, so we just hung in there and credit to Shami and Sam (Curran) for bowling those terrific couple of overs.
Apart from some spectacular death bowling by the pacers, captain Ashwin did expertly well himself, effecting a run out from a direct hit to dismiss Chris Morris for a duck in that 17th over. However, his greater contributions were how he tactfully organised his bowling line-up, ensuring strike bowlers Shami and Curran bowled at the death and got his side over the line.
“We said in the last break that if we took two wickets, we got Ingram and (Rishabh) Pant, we’re in the game and we did that; and the rest is history I guess,” KXIP’s bowling coach Ryan Harris pointed out.
Curran was declared the Man of the Match for picking up a hat-trick that broke Delhi’s back and the young Englishman credited his skipped for giving him a free hand.
“Ash told me to do what I want to do, and just trying to focus on me and the batsman,” he said. “Luckily enough I nailed a few yorkers and we won.
“The ball was reversing a bit, so I wanted to give the batsmen no room to try. Fire in as many yorkers as I could and luckily enough we manged to get a great win,” said Curran.