IPL: Kings XI Punjab holds nerve to pull off a thrilling win

Shreyas Iyer played a lone hand and brought a struggling Delhi Daredevils within a single hit from victory. However, off the final delivery, Shreyas's desperate heave ended in the waiting hands of Aaron Finch and signalled a fighting four-run victory for Kings XI Punjab.

Kings XI Punjab players celebrate the victory against Delhi Daredevils in New Delhi on Monday.   -  PTI

Shreyas Iyer played a lone hand and brought a struggling Delhi Daredevils within a single hit from victory. However, off the final delivery, Shreyas's desperate heave ended in the waiting hands of Aaron Finch and signalled a fighting four-run victory for Kings XI Punjab.

In what was the sixth match for both teams, Kings’ fifth victory resulted in a fifth loss for Daredevils. The triumph took the Punjab side to the top of the table with 10 points. Unlike the Kings batsmen in the past, this time it was the bowlers, particularly Man-of-the-Match Ankit Rajpoot (two for 23), who proved effective.

SCOREBOARD AND BALL-BY-BALL DETAILS

Defending a none-too-intimidating 143, Kings needed wickets to stop Daredevils. As it turned out, it managed to send back young Prithvi Shaw, an inconsistent Glenn Maxwell, a struggling Gautam Gambhir, the in-form Rishabh Pant and the dangerous Daniel Christian for just 72 in 12 overs.

Just when Kings began to entertain hopes of a win, Shreyas (57 off 45 balls) almost turned the match on its head.

With Daredevils needing 21 runs off 12 deliveries, Sran removed Plunkett and conceded just four runs to bring Kings closer to victory. With 17 needed off the last over, Mujeeb ur Rahman gave away 12 off the first five deliveries to Shreyas, including a six and a four, before Finch accepted the offering off the final ball.

Earlier, after winning the toss, there was hardly a moment when Daredevils was under pressure. Though the host dropped David Miller twice, it did not prove costly. The fielding was sloppy but did not help the Kings get away to a position of comfort.

With Chris Gayle sitting out owing to fitness issues, the departure of openers Finch and K.L. Rahul in the first 27 deliveries of the innings put Daredevils on top. The team managed 68 runs in the first 10 overs — its lowest this season.

Plunkett struck in his first over, having the irrepressible Rahul caught by a diving Avesh Khan at short fine leg. He removed an aggressive Mayank Agarwal when the batsman misread the pace, played across and lost his off-stump. Later, a well-set Karun Nair holed out to Shreyas at long-on.

The rate of scoring in the middle-overs pegged back Kings. From 59 for two in seven overs, the side could add only 17 off the next five overs, with Yuvraj Singh’s poor touch not helping matters. Though Daredevils’ Boult claimed two wickets in the last over to take his tally to nine and claim the Purple Cap, it was Kings’ night.

HOW THEY FARED

The Top Buy: Bought for Rs 11.5 crore in the auctions, K. L. Rahul did not have a good outing with the bat as he could contribute only 23 in 15 balls. Behind the stumps, he, however, was involved in a caught behind.

The Rookie: It was not quite an IPL debut to remember for Prithvi Shaw. Opening the innings for Delhi Daredevils, Shaw played a knock of 22 in 10 balls. Shaw even dropped David Miller, when the Kings XI batsman was on 10.