In the Indian Premier League on Wednesday, Delhi Capitals showed extraordinary resiliency to overcome a COVID crisis in their camp and smash Punjab Kings by nine wickets.
Delhi, who had a tumultuous build-up to the game after a sixth COVID positive case was reported on the morning of the game, put up a brilliant bowling performance to dismiss Punjab Kings for a disappointing 115. Even Lalit Yadav, let alone Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav, became unplayable on a track where deliveries were lagging.
With Prithvi Shaw (41 off 20 balls) and David Warner (60 not out off 30 balls), Delhi appeared to be in a hurry to wrap up the game.
With a low target on the board, Shaw got off to a flying start, smashing Vaibhav Arora for three fours in the first over to grab 14 runs. Warner then joined the party in the next over, smashing a four-ball drive against Rabada to get off to a flying start.
Pant was instrumental in the breakthrough, bringing on Lalit Yadav in the fourth over and then taking a brilliant catch behind the wickets to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan (9). Mustafizur Rahman castled Mayank Agarwal (24 off 15 balls) in the fifth over, while Axar stumped Liam Livingstone (2) in the following over and Khaleel Ahmed bounced out Jonny Bairstow (9) in the seventh.
Jitesh Sharma and Shahrukh Khan put on a 31-run stand to keep Punjab in the game for a while, but the pair was split when Axar trapped Jitesh (32) LBW in the 13th over.
In the third over, Warner hammered back-to-back fours against Arora before Shaw dragged the final delivery over long-on for six. As they raced to 75/0 in 5 overs, Rabada conceded three fours in the fourth over, all from Warner’s blade, and Shaw smashed back-to-back boundaries against Arshdeep Singh in the fifth over.
Punjab were in trouble at 35/2 after losing openers Mayank Agarwal (24) and Shikhar Dhawan (9) early in the innings. Mayank began with a cut for a boundary, having recovered from a toe ailment that forced him to miss the previous game. After that, he went after Shardul Thakur, hitting three fours in the third over for 14 runs.
However, off-spinner Lalit cheaply dismissed Dhawan (9) after his attempted paddle produced in a nick to Rishabh Pant.
Punjab were swiftly reduced to 46/3 when Axar removed the in-form Liam Livingstone (2), who was stumped by Pant in his first over. Livingstone came down the wicket to attack Axar, but the left-arm spinner deflected the ball away from him, allowing Pant to take the strike.
Punjab’s wickets continued to tumble as Jonny Bairstow (9) gave Mustafizur a sitter at fine-leg in the seventh over off Khaleel Ahmed (2/21).
Punjab lost half their side for 85 runs after Jitesh Sharma (32), who hit five boundaries, and Shahrukh Khan (12) attempted to rescue the innings, but they only managed to add 31 runs before Axar trapped the former in front of the wickets.
Punjab went from 85/5 to 92/8 after losing three wickets in a row, with Kuldeep Yadav (2) and Nathan Ellis (0) falling in the 14th over.