But after Rahul’s departure, Punjab lost its way somewhat, as they lost one more wicket quickly, and their run-rate dropped drastically. Yuvraj Singh, who came in at no. 3, couldn’t really produce the desired performance as he could only score 12 runs from 22 balls.
After Yuvraj’s departure, Karun Nair (50) and David Miller (24) did the damage control and took the team to a safe position. Nair started slowly, but picked up his scoring rate once he got his eye in. The match was finished well by Marcus Stoinis who smacked 22 runs from 15 balls.
It was a disappointing show by Delhi bowlers, as they could not control the flow of boundaries in the innings. Mohamed Shami gave away 26 runs from his two overs, while Amit Mishra leaked 46 runs in his 4 overs. Though Dan Christian and Rahul Tewatia bowled well but that didn’t prove enough.
Earlier in the day, after choosing to bowl first, Kings XI Punjab did well to restrict Delhi to just 166 runs in their allotted 20 overs. It was due to skipper Gautam Gambhir’s 42-ball 55, that Delhi could post that kind of total. Gambhir’s innings involved five fours and one six, but the team could not continue the momentum he gave them. After his departure, there were quick-fire innings from the bat of Rishabh Pant (28) and Chris Morris (27), but that was never going to be enough, seeing the strong batting line-up of Punjab.
It would be fair to say Delhi could have managed a better total, if not for an unpredictable batting order. Delhi sent in Vijay Shankar before the hard-hitting Pant, and an unknown Rahul Tewatia before all-rounder Chris Morris.
One of the problems that came to the fore for Delhi was that they couldn’t string big partnerships in the middle of the innings, and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Their highest partnership of the day came between Gambhir and Shreyas Iyer, who stitched 42 runs together.
As far as Punjab’s bowling is concerned, the match marked a dream debut for Afghanistan youngster Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The 17-year-old, who became the youngest cricketer ever to play in the IPL, returned with figures of 2/28 in his four overs.
Ravichandran Ashwin, in his first match as skipper did well and bagged one wicket conceding 23 runs only. The lanky spinner bowled some of his leg-spinners too, that were a difficult to pick for the batsmen. He somewhat managed to put brakes on the scoring rate, after pacer Andrew Tye and Axar Patel gave 38 and 35 runs, respectively.
First Published: April 8, 2018, 7:43 PM IST