Shikhar Dhawan’s sensational knock spoiled K.L. Rahul’s birthday party as Delhi Capitals chased down a target of 196 in a high-scoring game at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
Dhawan’s 92 (49b, 13×4, 2×6) — dominated by his ability to score at will on the on-side — meant that a tally of 195 for four wasn’t enough for Punjab Kings.
With the strip at the Wankhede being a belter and the dew factor working against the bowlers right through the second innings, the Punjab attack — including debutant off-spinner Jalaj Saxena — couldn’t make an impact.
Dhawan produced yet another exhilarating display as Capitals timed its chase to perfection.
Strong on the leg-side
Besides his ability to manoeuvre the leg-side field — 64 of his 92 runs came on the leg-side — Dhawan ensured that that the pressure of the scoreboard never got to Capitals by hitting a boundary virtually every over.
By the time Dhawan missed a sweep off fast bowler Jhye Richardson, the target was down to 44 off 31. Captain Rishabh Pant took the team to the cusp before Marcus Stoinis helped Capitals cross the finish line.
The night will be remembered for the performances of the opening batsmen on both sides.
Agarwal on song
With Mayank Agarwal firing for the first time this season, Punjab had a sizzling PowerPlay after being invited to bat. While Mayank drove with panache, Rahul took time to get going.
While Agarwal cleared the field on a consistent basis, Rahul — who enjoyed two reprieves — continued to play within himself, the way he did last season.
Agarwal was severe on left-arm seamer Lukman Meriwala, who was handed a debut by Capitals after it chose to not rush Anrich Nortje back to the park. Meriwala conceded 20 in his opening over.
Just before Agarwal perished, he tonked back-to-back sixes off Kagiso Rabada in the 11th over.
Despite three of the four openers batting big, the stroke of the day came from the willow of Prithvi Shaw, the only opener who missed out on converting a quickfire start into a fifty.
Continuing his silken touch, Shaw came out all guns blazing and his lofted shot off Mohammed Shami which sailed over the bowler’s head and into the sightscreen was breathtaking.
Just before the PowerPlay got over, Shaw’s cameo ended as he top-edged a slower one from left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh.
However, his partner Dhawan ensured that Capitals didn’t lose the tempo and two points.