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Prabhsimran Singh’s brilliant maiden century, followed by spin domination of Harpreet Brar and Rahul Chahar led Punjab Kings to a convincing 31-run win over Delhi Capitals in Match No. 59 of IPL 2023 at Arun Jaitley Stadium, here on Saturday.
Opener Prabhsimran’s maiden IPL century (103 off 65) guided Punjab Kings to a competitive 167/7 in 20 overs. Punjab were struggling at 45/3 but Prabhsimran stitched a vital stand of 72 runs off 54 balls for the fourth wicket with Sam Curran to get them out of trouble. On the other hand, Ishant Sharma was the most successful bowler for Delhi Capitals with his 2-27.
In reply, despite having solid Power-play, Delhi Capitals struggled against spin choke, implemented by Harpreet (4-30) and Chahar (2-16) and suffered another loss in the season.
With this win, Punjab moved up to the sixth position in the points table with six victories in 12 matches and kept their playoffs hopes alive, On the other hand, Delhi remained at the bottom of the points table with just 4 wins in 12 matches as they are now out of the race for the playoffs by their own merit.
Chasing a fighting total, Delhi Capitals were off to a flying start, scoring 65/0 after 6 overs courtesy of Warner’s attacking approach. Warner came out all guns blazing hitting Rishi Dhawan for back-to-back boundaries in the very first over.
The Australian didn’t spare anything whether it was the pace of Nathan Elis, Sam Curran, Arshdeep Singh and the spin of Harpreet Brar, hitting the new ball to all parts of the ground and making the target of 168 look like a cakewalk. On the other hand, Philip Salt also found occasional boundaries as Delhi were cruising towards the target quite comfortably.
It was Brar, who eventually gave Punjab their first breakthrough in the 7th over by removing Salt (21). However, Warner continued his aggressive intent and reached his 60th fifty in the IPL off 23 balls.
Though Warner was going strong, he didn’t get support from the other end with Mitchell Marsh and Rilee Rossouw getting out cheaply against Punjab spinners. Eventually, Warner (54 off 27) also got to Harpreet Brar in the 9th over, which started Delhi Capitals downslide in the run-chase.
The likes of Axar Patel and Manish Pandey also didn’t grab the opportunity to shine, getting out without showing any fight and leaving Delhi Capitals to 88-6 after 10.1 overs.
Lower down the order, the likes of Aman Hakim Khan (16), Praveen Dubey (16) and Kuldeep Yadav (10 not out) showed some resistance but their efforts were not enough as Delhi Capitals were eventually restricted to 136/8 in 20 overs.
Earlier, put in to bat first, Punjab Kings got off to a disastrous start as they lost three key wickets — Shikhar Dhawan (7), Liam Livingstone (4) and Jitesh Sharma (5) — inside the Power-play.
Dhawan, who looked in fine touch and smashed a six as well, was the first one to depart, getting out to Ishant Sharma in the second over of the innings. Continuing his impressive swing bowling, Ishant then rattled the stumps of Livingstone, who went for a big heave but missed the ball completely.
Wickets were falling at the other end but Prabhsimran Singh was able to find a few boundaries in between. The right-handed opener hit Axar for a six to deep backward-square in the first ball of the last over of the Power-play but the Indian spinner bowled Jitesh in the same over to leave Punjab Kings 45/3 after 5.2 overs.
From there on, Prabhsimran, who carried his bat through the Power-play and new batter Sam Curran had the responsibility to lead Punjab’s recovery. However, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Axar and Praveen Dubey bowled the next few overs with tight line and length to keep Punjab Kings to 66/3 after 10 overs.
With runs not coming easily, Prabhsimran finally decided to free his arms and smashed Mitchell Marsh for two sixes and one four as 21 runs came from that over. After Marsh went for runs, Delhi skipper Warner brought spinners Kuldeep and Axar into the attack and they bowled decent overs to check the flow of boundaries.
However, there were enough opportunities for Prabhsimran to take singles and doubles as he got off to his second IPL fifty in 42 balls. On the other hand, Curran was playing the second fiddle quite well as his stand with Prabhsimran kept the scoreboard ticking for Punjab.
Delhi desperately needed a wicket and it was Praveen Dubey, who brought a much-needed breakthrough for them by getting rid of Curran (20 overs) in the 15th over. Harpreet Brar, who came to bat next, couldn’t do much as he got out to Kuldeep Yadav, leaving Punjab at 129-5 after 16.1 overs.
Despite losing partners from the other end, Prabhsimran continued his attacking approach and took Delhi bowlers to the cleaners. The opener slammed Khaleel Ahmed for back-to-back boundaries to get his maiden IPL hundred off 61 balls in the 18th over.
Punjab were dependent on Prabhsimran for a strong finish but Mukesh Kumar dismissed the batter soon after his century and bowled an excellent over to give just three runs. Khaleel too bowled a decent last over to keep Punjab Kings to 167/7 in 20 overs, which was too much for Delhi in the end.
Punjab Kings 167/7 in 20 overs (Prabhsimran 103, Sam Curran 20; Ishant 2-27) beat Delhi Capitals 136/8 in 20 Overs (David Warner 54, Philip Salt 21; Harpreet Brar 4-30, Rahul Chahar 2-16) by 31 runs.