IPL 2020: Delhi Capitals win dramatic game against Kings XI in Super Over
Shami finished with impressive figures (4-0-15-3)
Only a Super Over could separate the victor from the vanquished in a dramatic encounter under the iconic Ring of Fire.
And it was the Delhi Capitals that had the last laugh after a seesaw battle against the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Having fought like a hero with the bat to bail the Delhi Capitals out of a hopeless position, Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis returned to deliver decisive blows with the ball in the final over of the Kings XI Punjab innings to make sure both the teams finished at the same score - 157 - after 40 engrossing overs.
South African Kagiso Rabada, arguably the greatest fast bowler in the world now, then dismissed Kings XI Punjab skipper KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran in the Super Over, giving the Delhi Capitals a target of three runs off six balls.
Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer then completed the formalities without further drama to give Delhi Capitals a winning start.
The empty stadium longed for a roar from a crowd, but that couldn't stop Stoinis from playing an inspired innings (53, 21 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes) to help the Delhi Capitals stage an epic fightback.
Having been pushed to the back foot by the brilliance of the Kings XI Punjab bowlers, Delhi Capitals were in danger of not lasting the 20 overs.
At 6/96, the Capitals were in all sorts of trouble until a brutal assault from Stoinis gave his bowlers something to bowl at as the team finished with 157 for eight.
Then the Delhi bowlers turned up the heat on the Kings XI Punjab batsmen.
The brilliant shot-making ability of Mayank Agarwal (89, 60 balls, 7 fours, 4 sixes), though, kept the match alive until the final over, but Stoinis dismissed him in the penultimate ball of the innings before removing Chris Jordan to take the match into the Super Over.
But when the Kings XI chase began, it seemed the KL Rahul-led team would reach home in style, with the captain timing the ball beautifully.
But the Capitals fought back with telling blows, completely destroying the middle-order (Karun Nair 1, Pooran 0, Glenn Maxwell 1 and Sarfaraz Khan 12).
And it was the veteran Delhi Capitals spinner Ravichandran Ashwin that sparked the Punjab middle-order collapse by dismissing Nair and Pooran in the sixth over of the innings with two beautiful deliveries.
But the joy of getting two wickets in his first over against a team he captained last year was short-lived as Ashwin hurt his right shoulder while trying to field off his final ball, raising serious doubts about his fitness for the rest of the tournament.
Having won the toss, the Kings XI Punjab, with their nagging line and relentless accuracy, suffocated the Delhi Capitals.
The Delhi Capitals batsmen struggled right from the start as Mohammed Shami delivered a fast bowling masterclass to put the Kings XI Punjab on top.
Shami finished with impressive figures (4-0-15-3) and it was the start he gave his team by removing the explosive opener Prithvi Shaw (5) and number three Shimron Hetmyer (7), the aggressive West Indian left-hander, that sucked the life out of the Delhi Capitals.
Skipper Iyer (39, 32 balls, 3 sixes) and wicketkeeper-batsman Pant (31, 29 balls, 4 fours) tried to put their campaign back on track with a 73-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But Ravi Bishnoi, the talented 20-year-old leg-spinner, had Pant play on.
Shami then returned to send back Iyer before Stoinis rescued them with a magnificent counter attack.
"It's a weird game, isn't it? Sometimes the luck goes your way but you can easily go from hero to villain. You just try and feed on everyone's energy. It's nice that the IPL's got going again. We were nervous for a bit. Didn't think there'd be a Super Over tonight," Stoinis said after the cliffhanger.
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