The beleaguered Delhi Capitals finally emerged with all guns as they played partypoopers for all but knocking Punjab Kings out of play-off contention with a 15-run victory in the IPL, on Wednesday. Already out of the playoff race, Delhi Capitals finally came to the party in their penultimate game of the season to record an imposing 213/2 after PBKS opted to bowl.
Rilee Rossouw showed exceptional stroke play in a 37-ball 82 not out, while Prithvi Shaw (54; 38b) also hit a fifty on his comeback after about a month as DC scored their first 200-plus total of the season.
In response, PBKS took just 198/8 in the stated 20 overs despite all the fielding harakiri committed by DC.
Englishman Liam Livingstone hit a 48-ball 94, studded with five fours and a whopping nine sixes, but it wasn’t enough, as the total proved too much.
While Delhi is now ninth in the table after a consolation win, Punjab Kings are left at 12 after 13 matches due to this heavy defeat and even a win in the last match and a 14 point finish may not be enough as the net run- rate -0.308 only made things worse.
Preity Zinta’s side who have co-owned since their last appearance in 2014 have not even made it past four stages nine years in a row.
But DC’s fielding effort did give them plenty of opportunities.
As many as three catches were dropped, including Livingstone on three and Taide on 35, both in the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav who returned with 0/21 from his three overs.
They also missed two run-out opportunities when both batters, Livingstone and Taide, were out of the fold, but DC failed to hit the stumps on a sloppy outing.
PBKS made a tactical decision to eliminate rookie Atharva Taide after his 42-ball 55 (5×4, 2×6) because he simply found it difficult to get going after the first part of the innings.
Livingstone kept the PBKS chase going and raced to a 30-ball fifty, his sixth of the tournament as he cut the equation to 38 from the last two overs from an almost impossible 79 from four overs.
The Englishman turned it on in style in the 17th over as Khaleel started with no ball for height as he punctured for 20 runs.
Three sixes off Mukesh Kumar in the next over set the equation on course for PBKS before Anrich Nortje, who had dropped Livingstone early, redeemed himself with a perfect penultimate over.
Nortje gave up just five runs and cleared Sam Curran (11) while PBKS lost another one when Harpreet Brar was out.
DC bowlers suppressed PBKS’ long chase early on with left arm sailor Khaleel Ahmed starting with a girl, while Ishant Sharma dismissed Dhawan from the first pitch.
From 10/1 in three overs, the PBKS duo of Prabhsimran and Atharva eventually stepped it up with five boundaries (4×4, 1×6) in a row over two overs.
Already out of the playoff race, DC got off to a flying start with Prithvi Shaw hitting a 54 on his comeback after almost a month.
Shaw, who made his final appearance in this season’s IPL against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 20, returned to form and posted a 35-ball 50, his first in 13 IPL innings.
Shaw suffered a setback from Rabada on his 38-ball knock (7×4, 1×6) as he and his skipper David Warner (46 of 31b; 5×4, 2×6) gave their best start of the season.
The duo compiled an opening score of 94 runs, their highest this season before Rossouw took the lead with his first IPL fifty coming off 25 balls.
Rossouw took the lead as he sent his South African teammate into space with a six over long-off.
He followed it up with a border and then a sublime pick-up six over deep square leg, because from then on there was no looking back for the South African.
Rabada then gave up 36 from his three overs, while Sam Curran took 2/36.
From a calm six for no loss in two overs, DC raced to 61 without losing a wicket in the power play, with Warner and Shaw posting their highest opening partnership this season after PBKS opted to bowl.
This was the second time DC had not lost a wicket in the power play this season.
DC got going when Warner whacked Curran for back-to-back boundaries before taking on Rabada.
Shaw drew Rabada to a boundary before Warner took on the South African pacer with two sixes in three balls in a 17-run over.
They crossed to 50 within five overs as Warner and Shaw took on the Punjab bowlers.
Nothing went in PBKS favor on Wednesday, with Rahul Chahar dropping a nanny to delay Warner at 39. The Aussie was reeled in by a spectacular catch by Shikhar Dhawan, but by then DC was on course for their first 200- plus total this season.
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