IPL 2021: Dhawan’s show trumps Punjab Kings

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 18, 2021
Shikhar Dhawan of Delhi Capitals plays a shot against Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday night. — BCCI/IPL

Southpaw smashes 92 as Delhi Capitals win by six wickets

Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan fell short of a third IPL century but the stylish southpaw’s fine knock paved the way for the Delhi Capitals’ victory over the Punjab Kings on Sunday night.

Dhawan worked off a brilliant 92 from 49 deliveries that included 13 boundaries and two sixes as last year’s runners-up nicked a narrow six-wicket win, chasing down 196 with four balls to spare, in Mumbai.

Their second victory in three matches pushed the Capitals to second on the league table, while the Punjab Kings suffered their second consecutive defeat.

Incidentally, Dhawan had created history last season in the UAE when he had become the first player to score back-to-back centuries. His first was a match-winning effort against the Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah, while the second was in a losing cause against Sunday’s opponents, who were then called Kings XI Punjab, in Dubai.

The Delhi Capitals openers Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw came up with the ideal riposte during the chase. Although Dhawan’s younger partner Shaw departed after making an aggressive 17-ball 32 with three boundaries and two sixes, the Delhi Capitals managed to chip off 62 runs in the powerplay overs.

Steve Smith’s debut for the Capitals didn’t go as expected with the Australian falling for nine from 12 balls. Nonetheless, the runs flowed through Dhawan with the southpaw the dominant partner in their second wicket stand with 38 off the 48 runs coming from his willow. Dhawan had earlier put on 59 from 33 balls with Shaw.

Dhawan fell eight runs short of his century after he was castled by Jhye Richardson but not before he had done the spadework to leave the Capitals needing 44 from 30 balls. Dhawan had stitched together 45 runs with his captain Rishabh Pant, for the third wicket, with 28 off those coming off his bat.

Marcus Stoinis (27 not out) and Lalit Yadav (12 not out) then kept their nerves to take the Delhi Capitals over the line.

Earlier, good friends and teammates Mayank Agarwal and skipper KL Rahul conjured a century opening partnership to script a competitive total, although a 200 plus score had seemed a given, at one point.

Agarwal finally struck form by smashing 69 from 36 deliveries during which he belted seven boundaries and four sixes. His previous scores coming into this game had been 14 and 0 against the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings, respectively.

Rahul, meanwhile, played a good hand of 61 from 51 balls that was studded with seven boundaries and two sixes. After the high of 221 against the Rajasthan Royals and the low of 106 against three-time winners the Chennai Super Kings, the pair were aggressive in their approach, smacking 122 runs in 77 deliveries for the opening wicket, to lay a strong foundation for the others to follow. The duo had coshed 59 runs in the powerplay overs with England seamer Chris Woakes, left-arm pacer Lukman Meriwala, off-spinner R Ashwin and South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada unable to dislodge them.

Meriwala, who had leaked 28 runs from two overs during the powerplay, returned to finally give Delhi Capitals the breakthrough. Agarwal had looked sublime during his knock but his knock came to an end after he sliced Meriwala to Shikhar Dhawan at sweeper cover.

Rahul then departed, holing out to Stoinis at deep midwicket off Rabada, at the start of the 16th over.

Punjab Kings couldn’t quite accelerate with the towering Chris Gayle making a nine-ball 11 with a lone six before he was caught by substitute RV Patel at extra cover, after Woakes had deceived the ‘Universe Boss.’

Nicholas Pooran, who had helped guide Northern Warriors to a second Abu Dhabi T10 League title earlier this year, saw his wretched form continue with the West Indian left-hander scoring just nine. He was out for successive ducks against the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings.

Steve Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane at No.3, while Lukman Meriwala came in for Tom Curran, for the Delhi Capitals. Punjab Kings made one change with Jalaj Saxena replacing M Ashwin.

The Delhi Capitals square off against defending champions Mumbai Indians on Tuesday night, while the Punjab Kings take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday night.

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