In the run-up to their match against Punjab Kings, Delhi Capitals didn’t get adequate practice. They had to spend time in hotel rooms, put through rounds of testing, saw a change of venues and six members of their camp, including Mitchell Marsh and then Tim Seifert testing positive for Covid-19 on the morning of the match, bringing a cloud of uncertainty over them taking the field for a crucial game.
In spite of all the off-field troubles, Delhi set aside feelings of confusion as well as nervousness to put up a sterling all-round performance, save for some fielding fumbles, to thrash Punjab Kings by nine wickets at the Brabourne Stadium on Wednesday. For everything that went wrong for them off-field, every single thing, right from the toss to scoring the winning run worked in Delhi’s favour.
After the bowlers put up an impressive show to bowl out Punjab for just 115, David Warner and Prithvi Shaw’s fourth consecutive fifty-plus stand, leading to an opening partnership of 83, made short work of the chase, completed with 57 balls to spare. Punjab would rue their aggressive batting approach causing them to self-implode spectacularly to register the lowest score of IPL 2022.
Warner and Shaw came out all guns blazing by bringing up the half-century of their partnership in 3.3 overs, the fastest fifty by a team in IPL 2022. Shaw had initial difficulty against in-swing from Vaibhav Arora but took three boundaries in the opening over.
The dynamic duo then took a boundary each off Kagiso Rabada to pile more misery on Punjab. Arora came under further attack as Warner carted him for back-to-back boundaries while Shaw swung him hard over long-on for six. Warner took two more boundaries off Rabada before amassing 17 runs with Shaw off Arshdeep Singh’s opening over to effectively seal the fate of the match in power-play.
Post power-play, Rahul Chahar broke the 83-run opening stand as Shaw slog-swept, only for long-on to balance himself and take the catch over his left shoulder. Warner continued to deal in boundaries, whacking a pull over deep mid-wicket fence off Rabada followed by clearing the same region with a slog-sweep.
Warner registered a hat-trick of fifties in the tournament with a four steered through third man off Nathan Ellis before finishing off the innings with another four through mid-wicket off Chahar to seal a thumping win for Delhi.
Earlier, from 33/0 in 3.3 overs, Punjab’s batting went nowhere as Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav and Mustafizur Rahman picked two wickets each. Mayank Agarwal began the innings with an uppish cut through point off Shardul Thakur. He then picked three more fours off Thakur’s second over, two on the off-side followed by a leg glance as Punjab raced to 27/0 in three overs.
Lalit provided the breakthrough for Delhi, breaking the 33-run opening stand as Shikhar Dhawan was strangled down leg while trying to pull and Rishabh Pant grabbing an excellent catch. In the next over, Agarwal chopped on to his stumps off Rahman while trying to dab through third man.
Punjab were dealt with another big blow in power-play when Liam Livingstone danced down the pitch to loft straight down the ground but missed the ball completely and was stumped by Pant off Axar. In the next over, Jonny Bairstow pulled a short ball from Ahmed straight to long leg.
Jitesh Sharma tried to steady Punjab’s innings with some boundaries off Ahmed, Rahman and Kuldeep. But he was trapped lbw on 32 off 23 balls by Axar while moving across to sweep. With Kuldeep castling Kagiso Rabada and Nathan Ellis on consecutive deliveries in his final over after going wicketless in first three and Shahrukh Khan nicking behind a short and wide off cutter from Ahmed in the next over, the end was inevitable for Punjab.
Rahul Chahar struck a four and six to take Punjab past 100 with his run-a-ball 12. But Lalit took him out by sweeping straight to deep backward square leg. Arshdeep Singh’s run-out on the final ball of the innings through a comical mis-up brought curtains on a very strange innings from Punjab.
Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 115 all out in 20 overs (Jitesh Sharma 32, Mayank Agarwal 24; Axar Patel 2/10, Lalit Yadav 2/11) lost to Delhi Capitals 119/1 in 10.3 overs (David Warner 60 not out, Prithvi Shaw 41; Rahul Chahar 1/21) by nine wickets