Dhawan, Rabada shine as Delhi beats Punjab by seven wickets

IPL 2021: Shikhar Dhawan, who regained the Orange Cap with an unbeaten 69, led the charge as DC won with 14 deliveries to spare.

Shikhar Dhawan anchored DC's run chase with an unbeaten fifty.   -  BCCI/IPL

Delhi Capitals’ chase-and-win plan worked well for the sixth time this season and lifted it to the top of the table following a seven-wicket victory against Punjab Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Shikhar Dhawan, who regained the Orange Cap with an unbeaten 69, led the charge as DC won with 14 deliveries to spare.

PBKS, playing under a new captain Mayank Agarwal after K. L. Rahul was ruled out following acute appendicitis that required immediate surgery, fought back to reach 166 for six. Mayank led the fightback with an unbeaten 99, the second-highest for a debutant captain behind Sanju Samson’s 119 in Rajasthan Royals’ campaign-opener against PBKS this season.

IPL 2021, PBKS vs DC highlights: Dhawan's fifty leads Delhi Capitals to win over Punjab  

Given DC’s in-form openers, the target of 167 appeared sub-par and once Prithvi Shaw and Dhawan smashed 63 in the PowerPlay, PBKS was never really in the match.

Shaw, briefly in discomfort after being hit on the abdomen guard by a 140-kmph delivery from Riley Meredith, scored a brisk 22-ball 33 including three sixes and three boundaries.

But he fell to left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar — the man who dramatically turned it around against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the previous outing — on his arrival in the seventh over.

KL Rahul hospitalised with acute appendicitis, to undergo surgery  

Thereafter, Steve Smith joined Dhawan to add 48 off 41 deliveries without taking any unnecessary risks. Smith made way for Rishabh Pant, who perished in an attempt to rush to the finish line. It was left to Shimron Hetmyer to smash two sixes and a four and hasten the end.

Earlier, Mayank made up for the slow start with some timely acceleration. After being 90 for four in 14 overs, PBKS rode on Mayank’s power-hitting as 76 came off the last six overs. The icing on the cake was the final over of Avesh Khan that fetched 23 runs, with Mayank scoring 15 of them but missing a well-deserved century. For the first 14 overs, the DC bowlers were in complete control. Kagiso Rabada, who shattered Chris Gayle’s stumps with a full toss, took three wickets without looking his best. Axar Patel was economical, his biggest reward being the scalp of debutant Dawid Malan, the top-ranked T20 batsman in the world. Avesh was the other bowler to impress till he went for plenty in the 20th over.