Despite Liam Livingstone’s onslaught and Ishant Sharma’s tempestuous final over, Punjab Kings (PBKS) fell 15 runs short after Delhi Capitals (DC) breached the 200-run mark for the first time this Indian Premier League (IPL) season at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium here on Wednesday.
With PBKS needing 79 runs off the last four overs, Livingstone threw the otherwise disciplined DC pacers off their lengths. Ishant slipped in three consecutive full tosses, which Livingstone walloped for 17 runs and agonisingly swung and missed a fourth, which all but ended PBKS’ campaign.
Livingstone found support from Atharva Taide (55, 42b, 5×4, 2×6) in a scrappy 78-run partnership off 50 balls which epitomised PBKS’ aggressive approach in the middle-overs this season without the desired result. Livingstone and Taide were dropped once each, and their miscued lofted shots fell short of the fielders in the deep on at least three occasions.
Their run of luck reached a fever-pitch when both went unpunished for a mix-up in the middle off the same ball.
Earlier, an under-fire Prithvi Shaw (54, 38b, 7×4, 1×6) relished his return to form with a sublime fifty and a 94-run opening stand – DC’s highest this season – with skipper David Warner (46, 31b, 5×4, 2×6). The duo deceived PBKS into believing it had remedied its PowerPlay bowling woes when Sam Curran and Kagiso Rabada conceded just six runs off the first two overs.
They stayed in their crease to ride the considerable bounce on offer during a 16-ball boundary-less vigil before Warner opened the floodgates for a 61-run PowerPlay.
After both fell victim to Curran’s slower deliveries, DC’s middle-order, despite the absence of Mitchell Marsh, successfully cast off the lingering memories of its precipitous collapse against the same opposition four nights ago. Rilee Rossouw (82 n.o., 37b, 6×4, 6×6) rushed off the blocks with a couple of fours off Curran but a sterner tested awaited him.
The left-hander has fallen to spin four times in six innings this season, but he rode out the threat of Rahul Chahar, with help from Shaw, and smashed two sixes and a four in a 23-run final over bowled by Harpreet Brar to propel DC to a winning total.