Kings XI Punjab emerged winners by four runs as the embattled Delhi Daredevils’ woeful run of form in the Indian Premier League continued despite a change in venue and personnel on Monday at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
A heavily-rejigged Daredevils team produced a much-improved bowling performance to restrict Punjab to 143/8 but then imploded in their own batting, coming up four runs short.
Shreyas Iyer tried his best with 57 off 45 balls, but that was not enough, as the trio of Ankit Rajpoot, Andrew Tye and Mujeeb Ur Rahman picked up two wickets apiece to derail the Daredevils’ chase.
The hosts were off to a brisk start with the highly-talented Prithvi Shaw eking out a few boundaries, including one fine shot through point.
But, while going for one shot too many, the youngster lost his wicket to pacer Rajpoot, who then also claimed the big fish Glenn Maxwell for 12. The Daredevils’ chase seemed to be floundering when skipper Gautam Gambhir, looking woefully out of form, got a leading edge to make the long walk back to the dugout after making just four runs.
Daredevils were 48/3 at the end of the six Powerplay overs, and Punjab could sniff another victory after making their way back into the match.
The onus was on the in-form Rishabh Pant and Iyer, both coming off smashing half-centuries, but 17-year-old spinner Mujeeb had other ideas as he struck with his very first ball, his carrom ball making its way through the gap between Pant’s bat and pad.
Daredevils struggled to break the shackles and the situation became worse when Dan Christian was run out by a brilliant throw from the deep by Mayank Agarwal.
The home team needed 43 runs in the last four overs and, to everyone’s surprise, it was Rahul Tewatia who brought the equation down to 28 off 18 after he gleefully smashed Barinder Sran’s over-pitched offering straight over the bowler’s head, picking 17 runs in total.
Tye dismissed Tewatia (24 off 21 balls) as the equation reduced to 21 needed off the last two overs. Liam Plunkett came and went back for a golden duck, leaving Daredevils with an arduous task of scoring 17 in six balls. Delhi failed to do so despite Iyer whacking Mujeeb for a straight six and a four.
This is how the table looks after tonight’s match. Delhi, oh dear, Delhi! Anyone putting any money on them still making the playoffs?
Earlier, opting to field after winning the toss, Daredevils quickly snuffed out the wicket of Aaron Finch through Avesh Khan.
Entering the game as a beleaguered unit, the bottom-placed Daredevils made as many as five changes, including handing out IPL debuts to Plunkett and the young Prithvi Shaw.
And what a debut it turned out to be for Plunkett, who returned terrific figures of 3/17 in his full quota of four overs. Trent Boult an Khan took two wickets apiece.
The move to make many changes worked as the hosts managed to keep the in-form Punjab to a modest total. The rampaging Chris Gayle was forced to sit out the game due to a sore back and his absence was certainly felt by Kings XI.
Man of the Match: Ankit Rajpoot