IPL 2022: Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings have to step up considerably

Both sides have glaring gaps to fill, writes Ayaz Memon

Liam Livingstone of the Punjab Kings. (BCCI)
Liam Livingstone of the Punjab Kings. (BCCI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 12:28 AM

Disappointing defeats in their respective previous games have left both these teams somewhat vulnerable approaching the halfway mark of the season. The Delhi Capitals had the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore within their grasp but blew the opportunity.

The Punjab Kings never got going against Sunrisers Hyderabad and lost by a hefty margin which cost them points and dented their Net Run Rate too.

Delhi grabbed RCB by the scruff of the neck claiming early wickets, including those of Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli.

But they let the opponents off the hook through some uninspiring work in the field. This is not to deny Dinesh Karthik credit. In dazzling form, the diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman once again came to his team’s rescue, this time with a better knock than any he’s played this season and DC were left chasing 190.

DC’s strong batting failed to rise to the occasion this time. Prithvi Shaw and David Warner, showing glorious touch in earlier matches, fell cheaply, but what hurt the cause, even more, was Mitch Marsh playing out 24 deliveries and making niggardly contribution.

Australia’s T20 World Cup hero looked out of sorts and could barely get the ball off the square. His dismissal came as a relief to his dugout. The onus was now on skipper Rishabh Pant to come up with one of his special knocks. He looked to be turning things around when a fantastic catch by Kohli sent Pant packing and precipitated DC’s demise.

Punjab were caught by surprise by a resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad. Their problem was compounded with skipper Mayank Agarwal reporting unfit, which meant they were minus one of their in-form openers.

With Shikhar Dhawan falling cheaply, Punjab’s batting was all at sea against SRH’s pace bowlers as Umran Malik stole the show with his 150-kmph thunderbolts.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan also made their mark with their swing, seam and cut. Only Liam Livingstone looked good to tackle the inspired bowling, but 151 was a terribly sub-par score to defend against a side that had rediscovered their zest and ambition.

While Kane Williamson didn’t make too many runs, other overseas players, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran built on the early advantage provided by stroke maker Rahul Tripathi and SRH won at a canter.

Their previous matches highlighted that both PBKS and DC lack regimentation in one or both departments and are dependent on one or a couple of players to take them home which is not a sign of strength. Punjab’s batting has performed better so far, and for DC, richly endowed with batting skills, it has been the bowling. But both sides have glaring gaps to fill.

The Punjab Kings are seventh on the points table, one place ahead of the Delhi Capitals.

After a good start, both have stuttered a bit. As the race for the top four places in the league stage gathers pace, these two teams have to step up considerably to stay in the running.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

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