Delhi Capitals picked up their second win at home ground in five matches on Saturday, when they defeated Kings XI Punjab by five wickets. After a Chris Gayle blitzkrieg, DC were handed a target of 164 runs to chase. It took half centuries from both Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Shreyas Iyer to take them to a final-over win.
Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer won the toss and opted to bowl against Kings XI Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday. Delhi made three changes to their side with Colin Ingram, Sandeep Lamichhane and Sherfane Rutherford making their way to the side. For KXIP, mystery spinner Harpreet Brar was included along with left-arm seamer Sam Curran.
Chris Gayle smashed five gargantuan sixes into the night sky before Delhi Capitals put the brakes and restricted Kings XI Punjab to 163 for seven in an Indian Premier League match Saturday. Gayle top-scored with 69 off 37 balls, reaching the half century in 25 balls and hitting six boundaries besides the towering sixes. Coming back into the team, young leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane returned figures of 3/40, playing an influential role in helping DC rally after Gayle’s blitzkrieg.
Considering the dew factor in mind, Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer invited the visitors to bat first. And the hosts, seeking to end their run of woes at the Feroz Shah Kotla, enjoyed early success when Lamichhane tossed the ball up and had K L Rahul stumped with one that turned sharply in the second over.
Delhi Capitals were also reminded of their previous encounter against Kings XI Punjab where they lost seven wickets for eight runs and lost the match on Sunday. The side was cruising towards a win with both Dhawan and Iyer scoring half-centuries each. But after Dhawan’s dismissal in the 14th over for 56, boundaries dried up and pressure started building on skipper Shreyas Iyer.
Rishabh Pant tried to accelerate but gave away his wicket in the 16th over. The match almost turned when Colin Ingram, while batting on 19 in 9 balls, was cleaned up by Mohammed Shami. In the next ball, Axar Patel was run out, and DC were left needing 6 to win in the final over with 5 wickets in hand. Iyer kept his cool to launch Sam Curran for a boundary to take his side to win. He remained unbeaten on 58.
The game changed when Colin Ingram pulled off a remarkable one-handed pull-back to get rid of the dangerous Chris Gayle. Gayle was batting on 69 in the 12th over and looked all set for a century. Attempting to hit his sixth six of the innings, Gayle went big against leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane. However, the overspin on the ball got the toe end of the bat and almost crossed the boundary at deep mid-wicket.
But Ingram showed sensational fitness and poised to leap in the air and pull back after it looked like it had gone for a maximum. Since the momentum was taking him over, Ingram threw the ball to Axar near long-on. The backhand flick was perfect as Patel completed the dismissal. After Gayle’s dismissal, wickets started tumbling and Punjab could never recover, setting a modest total for DC to chase.
R Ashwin: The total was just below par because of the dew. I thought we lost a few too many wickets in the middle despite Chris playing a great knock. Disappointing (about Mujeeb’s injury) but we have talent in the dressing room to bank on. I thought we were giving some of those soft boundaries here and there. If it was 12-13 off the last over, we would have fancied ourselves. Credit to Shreyas, he held his nerve and saw it through. we’ve lost a lot of close games and won a few. We need to catch the momentum here.
Shreyas Iyer: Really satisfied on winning this one after losing three home games. The way we played, it was really good to see. This pitch isn’t suitable for our batsmen who like to play it on the rise, this one’s a really slow wicket. It’s really important to finish the games and today I did that. Sandeep is a very confident lad. Even if he goes for runs, he comes back hard. He’s fearless and positive in his approach, presence of Amit Mishra also helps him. We want our top-order batsmen to play fearless cricket and that’s what happened. Dhawan is playing fearless cricket right throughout the season and that’s helping us. Either of the top four batsman has to stay there till the end and take the team through. I took the responsibility today and I hope to continue that in the matches to come.
Scorecard: Kings XI Punjab (Gayle 69, Mandeep 30; Lamichhane 3/40); Delhi Capitals (Iyer 58*, Dhawan 56; Viljoen 2/39)