Thanks to overcast conditions, a pitch aiding pacers and Mohammed Shami’s sensational pace up front, the Narendra Modi Stadium witnessed its lowest total for a team batting first in Indian Premier League 2023. With the opposition lacking star appeal and having a mediocre season, it also resulted in the lowest turnout of the season at the largest cricket stadium in the world.
But each one of the 43,471 spectators who attended the match got their penny’s worth. The Capitals’ bowling attack ensured that their team’s lower order resurgence did not go waste as it defended 130. The five-run victory, with Ishant Sharma defending 12 runs in the last over, kept the Capitals campaign alive with its third win in nine games so far.
When Ishant started the last over, the Titans’ looked well on course to end the game with a well-timed chase. Captain Hardik Pandya was at the crease in an innings that ended up being a sedate knock without a peak. More importantly, Rahul Tewatia was living up to his billing of Mr. Finisher, having registered a hat-trick of sixes off Anrich Nortje’s previous over to bring the equation down from 30 off nine balls to 12 off six.
But Ishant used all his experience and landed wide yorkers precisely to not concede a single boundary and dismiss Tewatia off the fourth ball. Ishant thus ensured that the night will be remembered as much for his last over as for Shami’s scintillating spell.
Shami couldn’t have asked for better conditions to display his artistry. And he did so in style, decimating the Capitals’ order with a spell up front that read 4-0-11-4. He was lethal with his swing and seam position. Phil Salt lofted the first ball of the match straight to David Miller at short covers. Warner getting run out after Priyam Garg sent him back in the next over, intensified the collapse.
At 23 for five in five overs, Axar Patel staged the recovery with Aman Khan. And the duo did the job to an extent, before Axar was caught in the deep off Rashid Khan. Aman’s fifty - his first in IPL - and Ripal’s big hits turned out to be the game-changer eventually.
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