Shikhar Dhawan played a match-defining knock of 92 from 49 deliveries to help Delhi Capitals secure a emphatic six-wicket against Punjab Kings in their Indian Premier League clash on Sunday. Batting at a strike-rate of 187.76, Dhawan went on to smash 13 fours and two sixes as Delhi completed the stiff 196-run chase in just 18.2 overs.
Dhawan kicked-off Delhi’s run-chase along with Prithvi Shaw and the pair went on to add 59 for the opening wicket. Shaw was the first man to be removed by Arshdeep Singh as he was caught on 32 from 17 balls.
Steve Smith, who made his Delhi Capitals debut, then hung around with Dhawan in the middle as the pair added another 50-plus stand and helped their side gain a formidable position in the contest.
Dhawan departed in the 15th over of the Delhi innings when he was batting on 92 but by the time the opener had completely taken the game away from the opposition.
Marcus Stoinis finally concluded the match with some hard-hitting display and remained unbeaten on 27 from 13 deliveries, which included three fours and one six.
Earlier in the evening, Mayank Agarwal and Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul stitched a century-run opening stand to guide their side to a challenging 195/4. Agarwal made 69 off 36 balls, while Rahul scored 61 off 51 deliveries as Punjab made a flying start to their innings.
Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant’s decision to bowl after winning the toss backfired as the opening duo of Agarwal and Rahul took the attack to the opposition bowlers from the onset, hitting boundaries and sixes at will. While Agarwal was the aggressor of the two initially, Rahul upped the ante after a relatively sedate start.
Agarwal and Rahul adopted an aggressive approach against debutant Lukeman Meriwala and Kagiso Rabada, taking their team to 94/0 in 10 overs. Agarwal was looking dangerous during his 36-ball knock and ended up hitting seven boundaries and four hits over the fence. But DC dismissed both the batsmen in quick succession to make a comeback into the match.
While Agarwal was the first to depart, slicing a Meriwala delivery straight to Shikhar Dhawan at sweeper cover in the 13th over, Rahul handed a simple catch to Marcus Stonis at midwicket off Rabada. Rahul’s knock was laced with seven boundaries and two sixes.
Big-hitting Chris Gayle (11) failed to make a mark, perishing soon in search of a maximum. Nicholas Pooran (9) failed yet again but Deepak Hooda (22 not out off 13) and Shahrukh Khan (15 not out off five) provided the much needed big hits towards the end.
For DC, Ravichandran Ashwin (0/28) was economical, while Avesh Khan (1/33), Meriwala (1/32), Chris Woakes (1/42) and Rabada (1/43) picked up a wicket each.
– with PTI inputs