Hours before the match against Delhi Capitals (DC), Punjab Kings (PBKS) captain KL Rahul went down with acute appendicitis and had to undergo emergency surgery. Mayank Agarwal, who had missed the last match for Punjab, played as captain. He eased into his new role with an unbeaten 58-ball 99, a performance that earned him the Player of the Match award. Unfortunately, Mayank’s innings could still not prevent Delhi from winning comfortably, by 7 wickets with 14 balls to spare.
Punjab set Delhi 167, a decent target on the humongous Ahmedabad ground. However, Prithvi Shaw (39 in 22 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (69 not out in 47) added 63 runs in the Powerplay overs to as good as decide the match. Punjab tried to claw back, keeping Steven Smith (24 in 22) and Rishabh Pant (14 in 11) in check, but Shimron Hetmyer hit 6, 6, 4 off the second, third, and fourth balls he faced to ensure Delhi got a net run rate boost.
Shaw and Dhawan went after an erratic Mohammed Shami early in the Delhi innings. Riley Meredith worked up the serious pace, but could not dent the Delhi innings. When Mayank brought on the in-form Ravi Bishnoi in the fifth over, Shaw stretched to reach the pitch of the ball and send the ball flying over long off.
Harpreet Brar, Player of the Match in Punjab’s last match, got Shaw with his first ball, which was also the first after the Powerplay. This was a beauty that drifted in, beat the bat, and hit off stump. But by then the damage had been done. The asking rate had come down to seven and a half. Mayank shuffled his bowlers around, but all he got was two wickets.
Earlier, Mayank played a lone hand in the Punjab innings, holding up one end as well as accelerating at the same time. Chris Gayle began ominously, driving Avesh Khan past mid off for four, then bludgeoning Kagiso Rabada (3-36) over square leg for six. But Rabada sent his off stump cartwheeling with the next ball.
Dawid Malan struggled on his Punjab debut, taking up 26 balls for his 26. There was a phase when Punjab went for 27 balls without hitting a boundary. And when they did take the initiative, they lost Malan and Deepak Hooda in the space of three balls. After 14 overs, Punjab were left reeling at 90/4.
Mayank had scored 37 from 32 balls until this point. He now took charge, adding 62 in the next 26. This includes the 23-run last over, one that Mayank ended with 4, 6, 4.
Punjab Kings 166/6 in 20 overs (Mayank Agarwal 99*; Kagiso Rabada 3-36) lost to Delhi Capitals 167/3 in 17.4 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 69*; Harpreet Brar 1-19) by 7 wickets with 14 balls to spare. Player of the Match: Mayank Agarwal.
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