IPL 2020 KXIP vs DC: Kings XI Punjab stays alive in playoffs race with win over Delhi Capitals

Shikhar Dhawan’s second consecutive IPL ton falls flat as Kings XI Punjab beats Delhi Capitals by five wickets to stay afloat in the tournament.

Nicholas Pooran blazed his way to a 38-ball ball 53 against Delhi Capitals.   -  BCCI/IPL

The pitches are slowing down in the United Arab Emirates, but nothing seems to be affecting Shikhar Dhawan (106, 61b, 12x4, 3x6). The southpaw scored his second successive hundred of Indian Premier League 2020.

It is unfortunate that Delhi Capitals still could not stop Kings XI Punjab from tasting sweet revenge in Dubai on Tuesday. Riding on Nicholas Pooran’s 28-ball 53, Punjab chased down 165 with six balls to spare. It had lost the first-leg fixture in the Super Over.

Shikhar Dhawan becomes first batsman to hit two hundreds in two consecutive IPL matches  

K.L. Rahul (15, 11b, 1x4) and Mayank Agarwal (5, 9b) did not fire today. In fact, Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer had the arsenal to even restrict Chris Gayle (29, 13b, 3x4, 2x6). R.Ashwin is among the highest wicket-takers in the powerplay, and the off-spinner had dismissed Gayle five times in the IPL. But pacer Tushar Deshpande was introduced into the attack ahead of Ashwin, and the youngster leaked 26 runs. Gayle tonked him all around the park for three fours and two sixes to end the Powerplay on a high.

KXIP vs DC Highlights: Pooran fifty fires Kings XI Punjab to win over Delhi Capitals  

Eventually, it was Ashwin who ran through his gate — for the sixth time in the tournament. Pooran and Glenn Maxwell (32, 24b, 3x4) added 69 for the fourth-wicket to close in on the target.

Nicholas Pooran: misfield, run-out and match-winning fifty, all in an evening's work  

Pooran’s six off Stoinis over long-on with a grain of dust flying in the air due to the friction was perhaps the shot of the match. Kagiso Rabada (2/27), Axar Patel (1/27) and R. Ashwin (1/27) did apply brakes, but they left it too late.

The Dhawan show

Two days ago, Dhawan had scored an unbeaten 101 against Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah. The opponent and the venue changed, but the India international rode on intent to carry the bat again.

Skipper Rahul, not shying away from experimenting, started the Powerplay with off-spinner Maxwell. Prithvi Shaw (7,11b, 1x4) and Dhawan like to use the pace of the ball and are not too comfortable against spin upfront. The Australian almost pulled off a caught-and-bowled dismissal against the left-hander in the sixth ball.

Axar Patel - the 'unsung hero' of Delhi Capitals steps into IPL limelight  

Shaw’s miserable run continued as Maxwell caught him off Jimmy Neesham in the fourth over. Dhawan kept the pressure off by scoring in boundaries, as he normally does. He snatched 12 runs off a Mohammed Shami over by simply finding the gaps.

Punjab made inroads by picking up a few crucial wickets in the middle overs, but Dhawan ensured the scoreboard moved as swiftly as his feet did against the seam bowlers.

Shreyas Iyer (14, 12b, 1x6), Rishabh Pant (14, 20, 1x4), Marcus Stoinis (9, 10b) had a quiet day. Leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin stole an edge off Iyer’s attempted flick to hand Rahul a smart catch behind the stumps. He moved along the line of the ball to pouch the offering.

Dhawan took Delhi to 164 for the loss of five wickets. With this victory, Punjab has moved to the fifth spot with eight points, while Delhi continues to stay on top.

'Wake-up call' - Iyer

DC captain Shreyas Iyer says the defeat was a wake-up call for his team.

“This is like a wake-up call for us. Going forward we are going to face tough situations and tougher teams. We have played amazing cricket in the past but we have to leave that in the past,” Iyer said at the post-match press conference.

“We have to come out all guns blazing, play with freedom and take more responsibility. We need one match to qualify and keeping that in mind, we will take one match at a time,” he added.

Iyer was happy for Shikhar Dhawan after Dhawan scored his second century on the trot. “I am really happy for Shikhar Dhawan for the way he is going. He is creating an amazing platform for us as batsmen. We should be knowing our roles pretty well,” Iyer said.

However, he feels that his batsmen are in a good frame of mind and the defeat was a one off setback. “Other than that, I feel all the batsmen are in really good frame of mind and few matches can go wrong here and there as fatigue creeps in. Keeping that aside we need to focus on our strengths,” he said.

Iyer didn’t blame the Dubai track as he felt that it played the same in both innings.

Asked about what Dhawan is doing that others aren’t able to do, Iyer said, “The wicket played same in both innings. The way Shikhar is batting, his mindset has been amazing, it has been great throughout and he needs that quick start that keeps him going.

“The way he planned was amazing and we just need these sort of innings from him everyday. So, little bit of partnership in Power-Play from our openers (Prithvi Shaw) and we will get a big one.”

Iyer conceded that 26 runs off the fifth over bowled by Tushar Deshpande shifted the momentum in KXIP’s favour. “The fifth over of the PowerPlay definitely changed the momentum towards them but other than that we really played hard and took the game to the last run,” he said.

“We missed some run-outs and catches but that’s part and parcel of the game. We will do hardwork at our training in next few days.”

Deshpande, Iyer’s Mumbai Ranji Trophy team-mate, was taken to cleaners by Chris Gayle, who hit him for three fours and two sixes in an over. “Deshpande is a confident lad and does his homework pretty well. He has been hit by Chris Gayle, who is a world-class batsman and it’s a great learning experience for him.

“He will go back and analyse his mistakes and come back stronger. I believe in him,” the skipper said rallying behind his under-fire bowler. - PTI

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