Undeterred by the number of COVID-19 cases in its camp that had outdone its points tally in the Indian Premier League (IPL) coming into this game, Delhi Capitals put in a spirited performance to crush Punjab Kings at the Brabourne Stadium on Wednesday.
Five of the six bowlers that Capitals employed after winning the toss picked at least a wicket each to bundle Kings out for a paltry 115. Prithvi Shaw and David Warner then came into their element as the opening duo’s assault ensured an early finish.
Shaw and Warner’s 83-run partnership, with a whopping 81 of them coming in the PowerPlay, helped Capitals wind up the game in the 11th over. The facile nine-wicket win not only helped Capitals mark a hat-trick of wins at Brabourne but also gave their net run-rate a much-needed boost.
The openers ensured the bowlers’ good work didn’t go to waste as it blew away the Kings’ attack. The PowerPlay saw the duo smacking seven four each, while Shaw struck the lone six – a tennis-ball like swat off Vaibhav Arora.
In contrast to the 14 fours and a six that the Capitals openers smashed in the PowerPlay, the Kings’ innings saw only 15 fours and a six in 20 overs.
Such was the lacklustre performance of Kings’ batters that barring captain Mayank Agarwal, who returned in charge after missing the last game due to a toe injury, and Jitesh Sharma, no other batter could score even 20 runs. In contrast, Capitals bowlers put on a clinical performance to virtually seal the fate of the game in the first innings itself.
Agarwal got off the blocks quickly, going after Shardul Thakur in the third over that fetched 14 runs. However, once Shikhar Dhawan was caught down the leg-side in the next over off Lalit Yadav and Agarwal chopped on to the leg-stump in the fifth off Mustafizur Rahman, Capitals dominated the innings all along.
Liam Livingstone, the Kings X-factor of the season, made a premeditated charge down the wicket in the sixth over. But Axar Patel beat him in length and Rishabh Pant had all the time to whip the bails off. At 47 for three, the Kings had had another forgettable PowerPlay.
The wheels continued to come off with Jonny Bairstow pulling Mustafizur straight into the hands of deep square leg in the next over. With the Capitals picking a wicket four overs in succession, Pant’s men were in control.