Delhi Capitals displayed an impressive performance as they dashed Punjab Kings’ hopes of reaching the playoffs with a 15-run victory in the IPL. Despite being out of the playoff race, Delhi Capitals finally found their form in the penultimate match of the season, posting a formidable total of 213/2 after Punjab Kings chose to bowl.
Rilee Rossouw showcased exceptional strokeplay, remaining unbeaten on 82 off just 37 balls, while Prithvi Shaw made a comeback after a month and scored a brisk 54 off 38 balls. Their contributions helped Delhi Capitals achieve their first 200-plus total of the season.
In response, Punjab Kings managed to score 198/8 in their 20 overs, falling short of the target. Englishman Liam Livingstone was the standout performer for Punjab Kings, smashing a blistering 94 off 48 balls, including five fours and nine sixes. However, his efforts were in vain as the target proved too challenging.
Despite the victory, Delhi Capitals remain in the ninth position on the points table. Punjab Kings, after this heavy defeat, are currently placed 12th after 13 matches. Even if Punjab Kings win their last match and finish with 14 points, their net run rate of -0.308 would make it unlikely for them to qualify for the playoffs.
Punjab Kings’ disappointing performance continues their nine-year streak of not making it to the last four stage since their appearance in the 2014 final.
Delhi Capitals’ fielding performance provided several opportunities for Punjab Kings, with three catches being dropped, including Livingstone on three and Taide on 35, both off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav, who ended with figures of 0/21 from his three overs. Delhi Capitals also missed two run-out chances when both Livingstone and Taide were out of the crease.
Punjab Kings made a tactical decision to retire rookie Atharva Taide after his 55 off 42 balls, as he struggled to score runs in the latter part of the innings. Livingstone continued the run chase aggressively, reaching a 30-ball fifty, his sixth of the tournament, and bringing the required equation down to 38 runs from the last two overs.
Livingstone unleashed his batting prowess in the 17th over, taking advantage of a no-ball for height and smashing 20 runs off Khaleel Ahmed. He further hit three sixes off Mukesh Kumar in the following over, bringing Punjab Kings closer to the target. However, Anrich Nortje, who had earlier dropped Livingstone, redeemed himself by conceding just five runs in the penultimate over and dismissing Sam Curran (11). Harpreet Brar was run out during the same over, resulting in another setback for Punjab Kings.
Delhi Capitals’ bowlers, led by Khaleel Ahmed’s maiden over, stifled Punjab Kings’ chase early on. Ishant Sharma dismissed Dhawan off the first ball, leaving Punjab Kings struggling at 10/1 in three overs. However, Prabhsimran and Atharva revived their innings with a flurry of boundaries, hitting five fours and a six across two overs.
In their innings, Delhi Capitals got off to a flying start with Prithvi Shaw smashing a quickfire 54 on his comeback after almost a month. Shaw, who had previously played in this season’s IPL against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 20, regained his form and scored a 35-ball 50, his first in 13 IPL innings. Despite facing some blows from Rabada during his innings, Shaw and his skipper David Warner (46 off 31 balls) provided Delhi Capitals with their best opening partnership of the season, adding 94 runs. Rossouw then took charge, scoring his maiden IPL fifty in just 25 balls.
Rabada conceded 36 runs in his three overs, while Sam Curran took 2/36. Delhi Capitals accelerated their innings from a slow start of six runs for no loss in two overs to reach 61 without losing a wicket in the powerplay. Warner and Shaw capitalized on Punjab Kings’ bowling, with Warner hitting back-to-back boundaries and Shaw pulling Rabada for a four. Warner then smashed two sixes in three balls, taking on the South African pacer and scoring 17 runs in the over. The opening duo cruised to 50 runs in less than five overs, setting the stage for Delhi Capitals’ first 200-plus total of the season.
Punjab Kings faced a series of setbacks throughout the match, with Rahul Chahar dropping an easy catch to give Warner a reprieve on 39. However, by the time Warner was dismissed by a spectacular catch from Shikhar Dhawan, Delhi Capitals were already on track for their impressive total. (With inputs from PTI)