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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

IPL 2022: Delhi Capitals late charge takes them to Top four

Mitchell Marsh steers his side to a competitive score, and Shardul Thakur's slower ones hold off a fighting PK to take DC to No 4 in the table.

Written by Abhishek Purohit |
Updated: May 17, 2022 7:12:47 am
Delhi Capitals defeat Punjab Kings by 17 runs. (Photos by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for IPL)

Shardul Thakur’s four strikes first brought Delhi Capitals back into the game and then cut short a late fightback by Punjab Kings to deliver a crucial 17-run win that took his team to fourth position on the table, with 14 points and the fourth-best net run-rate so far.

Marsh carries DC again

In DC’s previous match at the same ground four nights ago against Rajasthan Royals, Mitchell Marsh had powered seven sixes in a match-winning 89 off 62. That knock, though, had come in the chase with the ball coming on better than it had in the first innings. Against PK, Marsh had to come in the second ball of the match after David Warner’s golden duck.

With a 6-3 field set to protect the shorter boundary, Marsh still took on the longer side when the bowling became too predictable, seeking to force the bigger hit. He first lofted Kagiso Rabada over the farther cow-corner rope. Later when the spinners too continued to bowl wider to the longer off side, he rocked back, waited and made sure he beat the sweeper with his cut. And when Marsh gets the power and timing right, the size of the boundary rarely matters. Marsh can get tied down by spin, but to his credit, he didn’t let the dot balls pile up, running 23 singles, and hence, didn’t have to take large risks to break free.

He had his couple of moments of good fortune, though. A mishit off Arshdeep Singh just cleared a jumping long-on, and another off the left-armer tickled into the wide long-off boundary despite a valiant dash-and-dive to attempt to catch it from Shikhar Dhawan.

How difficult it could be, and how well Marsh had played, was evident when he failed to clear deep midwicket on the shorter side off a Rabada slot delivery in the 19th over. So short Marsh had fallen that the fielder had to run in to complete the catch.

Marsh’s exit meant DC took just ten off the last two overs, but they’d still managed to set a competitive target of 160.

Panic after powerplay

Courtesy swift bursts from Sarfaraz Khan – opening for the first time in the IPL – and Jonny Bairstow, the powerplay had gone almost equivalent for both sides. DC had scored 59 for 2, PK were on 53 for 1with three deliveries remaining in their powerplay. However, Shardul Thakur first sent back Bhanuka Rajapaksa; two balls later, he bowled one that was close to cut, but Shikhar Dhawan tried to and went caught behind.

Three balls later, the DC spinners struck with their tricks. On a dry pitch where turn was available, Axar Patel foxed Mayank Agarwal with a straighter one; the line was on the stumps, Mayank Agarwal still went for a late steer and had his stumps rattled.

In the next over, Kuldeep Yadav slid it straight past an advancing Liam Livingstone to have him stumped by a long way.

Thakur intervenes decisively

At 61 for 5, the bulk of the PK batting was gone but the asking rate wasn’t steep, and wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma would take his side close with a 34-ball 44.

With 39 needed off the last three overs, Rovman Powell made a critical save on the straight boundary. He leaped to catch what was an otherwise certain six from Jitesh and hurled it back in time as he went over the rope to keep the damage to just a single.

Jitesh went for another six in the over but this time, Thakur had got the knuckle ball right, and Warner surged forward from long-off to take a sharp, low catch.

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PK would go down swinging. Now Rabada mowed Thakur over the shorter deep-midwicket rope. Next ball, Thakur sent the wide bouncer wider towards the longer side, and Rabada swatted it straight to long-off. Down to 131 for 9 after 18, PK were finally out of the game.

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