Rishabh Pant won the toss and tried to play the statistical advantage of teams chasing and winning at the Wankhede. With both teams coming off a loss in the last game, both wanted to make the most of this game.
Punjab Kings is one team in the VIVO IPL that has the most talent on paper. Strokes of individual brilliance and flashes of talent abound in PBKS. What lacks is them playing as a team? KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal got PBKS off to a flyer. In fact, it was the best start that they could have hoped for.
Agarwal coming off two poor innings seized the opportunity with both hands and went ballistic from the get-go. He smashed 4 sixes and 7 fours in his blisteringly quick innings of 69 off just 36 balls. KL Rahul tried to play the sheet anchor role and carry his bat right through the innings. KL Rahul was perfectly setting up his innings when he got out. The flamboyant right-hander captain of PBKS bowing out after scoring a responsible 61 off 51 balls. His innings studded with 7 fours and 2 sixes.
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With the kind of foundation that the PBKS openers had set and the kind of batting to walk in, the team looked at crossing the 200 marks comfortably. However, no one else in the PBKS batting line-up could make any worthwhile contribution. Gayle and Pooran have looked lackluster in the tournament and their poor run continued.
It was Hooda and Shahrukh Khan at the end that was able to get the runs going. SRK scoring a quickfire 15 off 5 balls, with 1 six and 2 fours. Hooda also contributing with a quick 22 off 13 balls with 2 massive sixes.
Apart from Ravichandran Ashwin, all the DC bowlers went for plenty of runs. PBKS scoring a healthy 195 off their full quota of 20 overs.
DC needed to start strong and strong they did. The pair of Shaw and Dhawan were at their dangerous best. Shaw started strong hitting the ball at will. He seems to have gotten his golden touch back under Ponting. While he looked set for a big one, he fell to Arshdeep Singh for 32 off 17 balls. His innings included 2 sixes and 3 fours.
Dhawan has a tendency to score the big ones when he gets his eye in. ‘Gabbar’ scoring boundaries at will and chasing down the PBKS score with ease. Dhawan had set himself for a big hundred. But he got out in the nineties. He ended his innings scoring 92 off 49 balls with 2 big sixes and 11 fours.
Steve Smith finally got a chance to play in this game. However, the Australian great could only manage 9 runs. It was Pant and Stoinis who set out chasing down the PBKS 195 mark.
If there is one thing KL Rahul and Anil Kumble need to worry about, it is their bowling line-up. Everyone from Shami to Meredith leaked a lot of runs. Even 200 is something that the PBKS bowlers are not comfortable in defending.