Marcus Stoinis’ last over star turns with both bat and ball was beautifully complemented by Kagiso Rabada’s briliant Super Over that ensured a thrilling opening round IPL victory for Delhi Capitals over Kings XI Punjab in Dubai on Sunday.
Stoinis first blasted his way to a 21-ball-53 as his late assault ensured a decent 157/8 for Capitals with 57 coming off last three overs. Stoinis hit seven fours and three sixes.
In reply, Capitals were in control for 15 overs before Mayank Agarwal 89 off 60 balls nearly won it for KXIP before Stoinis came into the picture again with opposition needing one off three balls.
The first one was a dot followed by wickets of Agarwal and Chris Jordan as match ended in a tie and went into Super Over.
Rabada then removed KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran off successive balls to give his side an easy three run target off one over. Rishabh Pant got a couple and Mohammed Shami bowled a wide as Capitals got their hard earned two points.
Earlier, the Capitals scored 57 runs in the last 18 balls with Stoinis producing a whirlwind knock that had seven fours and three sixes.
The pitch had a tinge of grass, the ball was swinging and pacer Shami relished the bowling on a helpful track. His wicket-taking and run-choking act seemed to have made the difference before Stoinis’ outstanding hitting changed the complexion of the game in matter of minutes.
It was a pitch that required patience from the batsmen but reckless shots was how Delhi Capitals began after being invited to bat, with Prithvi Shaw (5) paying the price for his extravagance and Shimron Hetmyer (7) failing to check his shot.
Shikhar Dhawan (0) was run out to a horrible mix-up and the scoreboard was not a pleasant sight for the Delhi side at 13/3.
However skipper Shreyas Iyer (39) and Rishabh Pant (31) respected the conditions to raise 73-run stand for the fourth wicket while Stoinis’’ knock towards the end put Capitals in a psychologically advantageous position.
Iyer launched into Gowtham for a massive six, first of the innings, in the ninth over, taking the run-rate to a modest five-an-over.
Iyer and Pant largely relied on singles to keep the scoreboard moving. Iyer took Gowtham to the cleaners in the 13th over, creaming off 15 runs with two well-measured straight sixes.
Suddenly, Iyer seem to be snatching the momentum and it forced Punjab captain KL Rahul to bring back his best bowler – Shami, who did not disappoint and got rid of Iyer. Delhi seem to be limping but Stonis rescued them.
Mayank stars but could not finish
KXIP were looking down the barrel with half of the side back in the pavilion at the half-way mark (55/5 after 10 overs) before Agarwal’s 89 off 60 balls took them to 157 before Stoinis came back to strike a double blow in the final two balls to set up a Super Over finish.
Rahul (21) was first to go and then India spinner R Ashwin sent back Karun Nair (1) and Nicholas Pooran (0) in space of five balls. It, though, did not end well for Ashwin, whose dive in the last ball to try and stop a single resulted in a freak shoulder injury.
Ashwin landed on his shoulders but it was the left one that seemed to pop. Writhing in pain, Ashwin’s jersey became a temporary sling as he left the field with DC physio. Later, however, he was seen at the presentation ceremony without a sling and Iyer expected him to be alright for the next match.
Half the batsmen back in the pavilion and no big-hitting batsman left in the line up, Agarwal’s heroic batting kept the game alive. He hit seven fours and four sixes. The last of those sixes came in the last over but instead of winning the match with a single, he went for the big shot off a low full toss and found the fielder at deep point.
Both the teams ended with score of 157/8 and when it spilled to a Super Over, South African pacer Rabada conceded only two runs and took two wicket off successive balls to tilt in the favour of Delhi Capitals. Rabada had pulled off a stunning Super Over in IPL 2019 against Kolkata Knight Riders where he had bowled an all-time great yorker to Andre Russell. Once again, he proved to be a match-winner for Delhi.
Watch highlights of the match here:
Delhi Capitals: 157/8 in 20 overs (Marcus Stoinis 53, Shreyas Iyer 39, Rishabh Pant 31; M Shami 3/15).
Kings XI Punjab: 157/8 in 20 overs (Mayank Agarwal 89; Ashwin 2/2, Rabada 2/28, Stoinis 2/29)
Super over: KXIP 2/2, DC 3/0
(With PTI inputs)