Liam Livingstone played the finisher’s role to perfection as Punjab Kings beat Delhi Capitals by four wickets to kickstart their 2024 Indian Premier League campaign with a win on Saturday.

The Englishman finished unbeaten on 38 off 21 following a 67-run stand with Sam Curran as the Kings chased down the target with four balls to spare after opting to field first.

Earlier in the day, the Capitals batters followed the pattern of gift wrapping their wickets after getting their eye in on a batting friendly wicket. The Punjab bowlers kept striking at regular intervals in what was the first-ever IPL match at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Stadium in Chandigarh.

The Capitals, who welcomed back captain Rishabh Pant to competitive cricket after more than a year, required a special effort from the young Abhishek Porel towards the end of the first innings to take them to 174/9 in their allotted 20 overs.

Turning point of the match

Kuldeep Yadav was in the middle of a dream spell, having already accounted for the wickets of a dangerous Prabhsimran Singh and Jitesh Sharma, when he had Curran dropped off his bowling by Tristan Stubbs at long-on.

Curran, who was then batting on 33 off 27 deliveries, went on to add 30 more runs off 20 balls, pretty much sealing the match in the Punjab Kings’ favour.

Livingstone and Curran added a match defining 67-run fifth-wicket partnership off 42 deliveries and the Capitals were left to rue about the chance they fluffed in the 14th over.

The Delhi Capitals were also a bowler short in the match, having brought in Porel as an impact player. They also missed the services of their most experienced pacer Ishant Sharma, who had to be taken off the field after twisting his ankle while fielding.

The Field's player of the match

Curran with his best-ever Indian Premier League score of 63 off 47 deliveries is The Field’s player of the match for the second match between Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals.

The left-hander came out to the middle as early as the fourth over chase and paced his innings flawlessly. The 25-year-old all-rounder played the second fiddle to the young Singh, who took the aggressive route during their partnership.

Despite losing Singh and Sharma in quick succession to Yadav, Curran kept calm. He expertly rotated the strike and found boundaries at will. He took a special liking to Mitchell Marsh, smashing the Australian for four boundaries and a six in the evening.

When Curran finally fell to Khaleel Ahmed in the 18th over, the Punjab Kings required just eight more to win with a well-set Livingstone at the other end.

‘Play each ball on merit’

If the Delhi Capitals were in contention to win the match even for a bit, it was largely credit to the young Porel.

Playing just his fifth IPL match, the 21-year-old batter hit an unbeaten 10-ball 32 to propel his team to a respectable total.

Porel launched a stunning onslaught on Harshal Patel, hitting the pacer for three boundaries and two sixes to score 25 runs off the final over of the innings.

Porel first pulled a short delivery from Patel to the backward square, before picking the bones out of a slower ball for a massive six. A rattled Patel lost his line, and bowled short and down the leg next and was sent to the fine leg boundary with a easy swivel. He then ramped the next ball to the third man boundary, before finding yet another six over the square leg boundary.

Having been sent in as an impact player in the 18th over, Porel displayed why the Capitals decided to retain him for the season despite the return of Pant.

“I was told three overs before that I will have to bat. But I was ready, because the support staff had asked the impact players to be prepared. I just wanted to execute whatever I had praticed and not try anything different. The aim was to play each ball on its merit.”

— Abhishek Porel, on his innings

Points Table

Position Team Played Won Lost Tied NRR Points
1 Chennai Super Kings 1 1 0 0 +0.779 2
2 Punjab Kings 1 1 0 0 +0.455 2
3 Gujarat Titans 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
4 Kolkata Knight Riders 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
5 Lucknow Super Giants 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
6 Mumbai Indians 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
7 Rajasthan Royals 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
8 Sunrisers Hyderabad 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
9 Delhi Capitals 1 0 1 0 -0.455 0
10 Royal Challengers Bangalore 1 0 1 0 -0.779 0