Synopsis: A Capital Horror Show unfolds after fast, fast, slow keep Kings in check.
Capital horror show
Rishabh Pant will regret the attempted heave against Mohammed Shami with 23 runs required off 21 balls with seven wickets in hand. He had just deposited the India speedster over wide long on to make a seemingly easy chase look a dawdle. Just pushing the ball into gaps from thereon would have got the job done, especially with Colin Ingram going great guns at the other end.
Pant’s stumps were demolished, but the visitors still seemed on track in their pursuit of 167. Then Chris Morris hit the ball straight to mid-off and ran for a non-existent single, only for R Ashwin to throw the stumps down.
Kings XI now had real belief when they looked out of the contest just a few deliveries earlier. When the dust settled, after the Capitals had spectacularly self-destructed, the hosts had sealed their third victory in four matches with Sam Curran taking a hat-trick to finish the game, ending with figures of 4/11 in just 2.2 overs. The bowler whom the Capitals had aimed to target brought about their downfall. They had lost seven wickets for eight runs in 17 balls to go down, not in a blaze of glory.
Hanuma Vihari is not known for his big-hitting prowess, and his innings of two off five balls at the death was short and tough to watch. It fell on Ingram to take his team home. He connected quite well with a lofted off-drive off Curran, but hit it straight to the fielder on the boundary.
Capitals had lost Prithvi Shaw off the first ball of the chase, edging an R Ashwin floater behind. Whether or not the row over the Mankading incident in their first match has anything to do with it is debatable, but the Kings XI Punjab has been an inspirational presence on the field. He would later return to trap the sedate Shikhar Dhawan in front with a ball that hurried in after pitching and hit the pad before the left-hander could bring his bat down.
But the target never looked out of Delhi’s reach, with Shreyas Iyer holding an end up and playing the big shot as per the situation. The visitors repeatedly got at least one boundary per over, and it reached a stage when they could have done the needful without taking any risk whatsoever.
But the DNA of the modern T20 cricketer does not allow him to play within himself. Or they are incapable of doing it in singles. It is not as if every team has capable batsmen down the tail. Specialists need to make it a point to get the job done themselves. Learn something from MS Dhoni.
Fast, fast, slow
Delhi Capitals may have done their homework on Chris Gayle, but the out-of- syllabus question on Curran stumped them for a while. The left-handed Englishman displayed a special liking for Avesh Khan, the youngster feeding him outside the off-stump in his first over.
Morris had earlier got rid of the threatening KL Rahul after the opener made hay for a while on the off-side. And with Curran getting off to a flyer, Capitals skipper Iyer turned to Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane. The teenager got hit for a six, but pinned Curran with a skidder.
Time and again, Iyer went to the overseas bowling riches at his disposal to pull back the hosts. Kagiso Rabada has been on a high since castling the rampaging Andre Russell on Saturday night, and the two South Africans pulled Kings XI back after Sarfaraz Khan and David Miller looked set to take them to 180 and beyond. The hosts collapsed from 137/4 to 156/9 in next to no time, when they should have been going in the other direction. But it wasn’t the most spectacular collapse of the evening, not by a long shot.
The slide started when Lamichhane beat Khan in flight and induced an edge to Pant. Then, Miller was foxed by a Morris slower ball for the Protea bragging rights.
With the team changes leaving the Kings XI with neither adequate batting firepower nor bowling strength, it left only Mandeep Singh with the tail.
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 166/9 from 20 overs (Miller 43 off 30 balls (4×4, 2×6), Sarfaraz Khan 39 off 29 (6×4); C Morris 3/30, Lamichhane 2/27, Rabada 2/32) beat Delhi Capitals 152 all out from 19.2 overs (R Pant 39 off 26 (3×4, 2×6), C Ingram 38 off 29 (4×4, 1×6); Curran 4/11) by 14 runs