Not ideal comeback for Pant as Punjab Kings prevail over DC by 4 wickets

CHANDIGARH, Mar 23: It was not the comeback Rishabh Pant had wished for as English all-rounder Sam Curran’s counterattacking half-century powered Punjab Kings to a four-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) opener here on Saturday.

Curran blazed away to a 47-ball 63 and got excellent support from compatriot Liam Livingstone (38 not out off 21 balls), as Punjab completed a chase of 175 with four balls to spare.

This was after the returning Pant failed to set the stage on fire as Punjab Kings rallied to stop Delhi Capitals at 174 for nine.

Batting at number nine, Abhishek Porel top-scored for DC with an unbeaten 32 off only 10 balls, helping the side to a total that did not pose any problem for Punjab on a pitch with no demons.

Punjab Kings began their chase in earnest and raced to 34 in three overs when Shikhar Dhawan (22 off 16 balls) charged down the wicket only to miss and see his middle stump getting disturbed by Ishant Sharma.

Impact Sub Prabhsimran walked in at number three and Ishant squared him up with one that hit the perfect length and left the batter in two minds. Prabhsimran’s riposte was a boundary through mid-off as the batter showed aggressive intent.

Having struck two fours in three balls, Jonny Bairstow was run out in an unfortunate fashion as Ishant managed to get his fingertips to a Prabhsimran drive before the ball went on to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Bairstow dived, but had backed up too far and couldn’t win the race against the ball.

Prabhsimran (27 off 17 balls) struck Khaleel Ahmed for two successive fours to relieve the pressure but, after having steadied the ship, the batter fell to in-form wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav who snared him with a googly.

Kuldeep also accounted for Jitesh Sharma to leave Punjab in a spot of bother at 100 for four in the 12th over.

Earlier, Punjab were put under pressure straightaway by the flamboyant Australian opening duo of David Warner (29 off 21 balls) and Mitchell Marsh (20 off 12 balls), who were dealing in fours and sixes.

Marsh worked a poor Sam Curran delivery off his pads for the day’s first boundary. Another mediocre offering from Curran was expertly flicked by Marsh for a four and the Capitals were on their way.

Not to be left behind when it comes to playing strokes, Warner pulled left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh (2/28) for a six in front of square and then played the bowler between cover-point and cover to find a four.

The flurry of boundaries forced Punjab Kings skipper Shikhar Dhawan to effect a bowling change but Kagiso Rabada’s introduction did little to stem the flow of runs as Marsh pulled a short ball over deep backward square for a big six.

Arshdeep came back and was whacked over long-off for another gigantic six by Marsh.

However, the left-arm seamer had the last laugh as he had Marsh caught by an agile Rahul Chahar at cover point, after the batter played a booming drive in the air.

Unperturbed by the departure of his opening partner, Warner continued to play in his usual aggressive fashion, hitting Rabada for a four through mid-off and then sat down to use the scoop shot for an incredible maximum over shot fine.

Harpreet Brar checked the flow of runs by bowling a fine first over but Chahar started with a 14-run over with Shai Hope hitting the bowler for a six and a four.

Harshal Patel (2/47) got the big wicket of Warner in his first over as comeback-man Pant (18 off 13 balls) arrived at the crease to loud applause from the stands.

The weekend crowd acknowledged his tale of perseverance after surviving a horrific car accident in December 2022 with cheers of joy.

Pant got himself a couple of boundaries before walking back to the dugout after a rather soft dismissal off Harshal.

Meanwhile, Rabada accounted for Hope and Chahar got rid of Tristan Stubbs as Delhi slipped to 128/6 in the 16th over. (PTI)

The post Not ideal comeback for Pant as Punjab Kings prevail over DC by 4 wickets appeared first on Daily Excelsior.

sports news