Spinners Akshar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav were inspiring in the middle overs and even Shardul Tagore complemented the pair with career-best IPL figures as the Delhi Capitals came close to qualifying for the play-offs after beating the Punjab Kings by 17 runs in an IPL match on Monday.
Invited to bat, DC Mitchell Marsh made 159 for 7 off 48 balls courtesy of 63 and then restricted Punjab to 142 for 9. Thakur (4/36), Akshar (2/14) and Kuldeep (2/14) shared eight wickets each. On the other hand, Enrich Nortz got an important wicket from Johnny Bearstore.
It was a 6-14 over where Kuldeep and Akshar collectively won the game by giving up just 28 runs in seven overs with four wickets between them.
With this win, DC climbed to fourth place with 14 points from 13 matches. Royal Challengers Bangalore (14 out of 13 matches) have the same number of points as DC but they have slipped to fifth position with -0.323 NRR as compared to Delhi’s +0.255.
Punjab, who are seventh with 12 points from 13 matches, are virtually out of count for play-off berths as they also have a net run rate of -0.043.
Chasing 160 for victory, Punjab fell to batting after a good start. Jitesh Sharma (44 off 34 balls) and Rahul Chahar (25 not out off 24 balls) struggled late for the eighth wicket with a pair of 41 runs – the highest to chase their runs – but it turned out to be too late.
Punjab started on a promising note with in-form Johnny Bairstow scoring Khalil Ahmed and Nortze with fours and sixes to take them to 27 not out by the end of the third over.
But the fall from there started when five Punjab batsmen went back to the huts one after the other as they were reduced to 5 runs at the end of the eighth over.
Bairstow (28 off 15 balls) fell to Nortje in the fourth over as a struggling Shardul Tagore took two wickets – Vanuka Rajapakse (4) and Shikhar Dhawan (19) – to change the color of three balls in the sixth over. The game
At the end of the powerplay, Punjab’s run was 54 for 3 and after three balls, Akshar Patel claimed his 100th IPL wicket in a special one – the scalp of Punjab captain Mayank Agarwal.
Mayank (0), who has been battling this season, went to cut an arm ball but it hit the middle stump with a gap between the bat and the pad.
In the eighth over, Liam Livingstone Kuldeep’s first wicket was stumped by Rishabh Pant, leaving no room for Punjab.
Kuldeep came back to dismiss Harpreet Barke (1) in his second over and hit the batter wrong-on before going through the gate to crash the stumps with him.
By then it was over for Punjab as they were down to 68 for 6 in the half mark.
Punjab needed 39 in the last three overs but David Warner pulled off a great catch off Jitesh to end the game for DC.
Earlier, Arshdeep Singh and Livingstone took three wickets each as Punjab restricted Delhi to 159 for seven.
Marsh first added 51 runs with Sarfaraz Khan (32) and then another 47 with Lalit Yadav (24), then lost opener David Warner (0) in the first ball of the DC innings.
When asked to bat, DC runs fast but they quickly lose three wickets and fall in the middle order.
It’s Australian Marsh, the DC innings anchor. He completed fifty with a boundary in the 16th over. He hit four fours and three sixes but went out of the team.
The move to open bowling with Livingstone (3/27) worked when he removed Warner, who gave Rahul Chahar a sitter at the backward point.
Marsh and Sarfaraz then try to keep the ship still. Marsh hit a back-to-back six off pacer Kagiso Rabadar (1/24), which included a high shot as Delhi added 15 runs in the second over.
Sarfaraz was cruel to left-arm orthodox bowler Harpreet Brar (0/29), hitting him a maximum, a slog sweep and two boundaries in a row, as Delhi collected 15 runs in the third over.
Sarfaraz hit five boundaries and a six to take Delhi to 50 in the fifth over. But Sarfaraz’s cameo was over when Arshdeep Singh (3/38) made a mistake in the left-handed shot of Chahar’s ball.
Marsh and Lalit then mixed caution and aggression. At 86/2 after 10 overs, a big score stage was created.
But Punjab outscored DC, quickly taking three wickets and reducing the opposition to 112/5.
First, Arshdeep removes Lalit using his slow bouncer and then returns Livingstone to Rishav Pant (7), who stumped Jitesh Sharma.
Livingstone got his third wicket when he removed Rovman Powell (2). In the last five overs, Punjab bowlers scored 43 runs but the wickets kept falling for Delhi.