Delhi Capitals seem to have struck form a bit too late. Having already been knocked out of the IPL, the David Warner-led side had very little at stake against Punjab Kings at Dharamsala on Wednesday.
But that didn’t deter them from producing one of the best performances this season. A 94-run opening stand between Warner and back-in-favour Prithvi Shaw was followed by a belligerent 82 not out off 37 balls by Rilee Rossouw that propelled the Capitals to 213 for two.
Faced against a tall asking rate, Punjab Kings batters failed to rise to the challenge, except for Liam Livingstone (94 not out off 48 balls) and Atharva Taide (55 off 42 retired out). Prabhsimran Singh managed 22.
Needing 33 off the final over bowled by Ishant Sharma, Punjab finished on 198 for eight. The Capitals’ 15-run win further dented Punjab Kings chances of making the playoffs as they stayed on 12 points from 13 games. Punjab Kings’ poor run-rate is expected to ruin their chances even if they win their last match.
The Capitals openers put on 61 runs in the Powerplay and never looked back. Warner went for his shots from the outset and even a life at 39 couldn’t curb his attacking instincts.
In the next over against Sam Curran, he was dismissed when Shikhar Dhawan sprinted to mid-off from cover and went air-borne to complete a stunning catch. Warner scored 46 off 31 balls.
Curran bowled a disciplined line and Kagiso Rabada banged it in short to stifle the Capitals batters. But Warner was in his element, hitting two consecutive fours to break the shackles. The pace on the wicket made things easy for the batters and the Capitals exploited it.
Dhawan got Harpreet Brar to bowl the last over with Arshdeep Singh having completed only two. The left-arm spinner ended up giving away 23 runs.
Rossouw had watched enough from the dugout and knew that he could get going straightaway. He pulled his first ball for four, drove his third for another boundary, took on Rabada’s pace and gave Rahul Chahar the charge. The South African struck four sixes by the end of the 15th over to race to 45 off 21.
Shaw reached his half-century and then fell to Curran’s slower ball when he went for a big hit over mid wicket. He made 54 off 38 balls.
Shaw copped body blows from Rabada as he and Warner gave their best start of the season. The duo put together their highest opening stand this season before Rossouw took charge.