Kings XI Punjab complete heist as Delhi Capitals lose 7 for 8

Kings XI Punjab 166 for 9 (Miller 43, Sarfaraz 39, Morris 3-30, Lamichhane 2-27, Rabada 2-32) beat Delhi Capitals 152 (Pant 39, Ingram 38, Curran 4-11, Shami 2-27, R Ashwin 2-31) by 14 runs. Twenty-three runs to get. Twenty-one balls to get them in. Seven wickets in hand. Two set batsmen at the crease. You can’t lose T20 games from there, right?

In an insane collapse that even the old Daredevils would have been embarrassed of, this revamped Delhi team lost their last seven wickets for eight runs, as Mohammed Shami and Sam Curran produced death overs that even they might never have thought could be so productive. Curran was a monster, claiming 4 for 11 from his 2.2 overs – his last eight deliveries yielding all of his wickets, and only four runs. Shami, though, was the man who set the collapse in motion, uprooting Rishabh Pant’s middle stump in the 17th over, then making a mess of Hanuma Vihari’s stumps in the 19th.

In between, captain R Ashwin produced a run-out, this time one even his harshest critics could not claim was unethical. When Chris Morris pushed the first ball he faced to Ashwin at mid-off, Kings XI’s captain swooped, picked up, and threw down the stumps, finding Morris meters short, and tore into the embrace of his team-mates. The wicket of Pant was important, but it was the dismissal of Morris that seemed to breathe sudden life into the Kings XI team as well as their home crowd, just as it seemed to strike Delhi dead.

Next over, Curran had the other set batsman – Colin Ingram – caught at the long-off boundary, and Kings XI had swung the game dramatically in their favour, in the space of seven deliveries. Always difficult to spot these when split across two overs, but Curran did take one, having Harshal Patel caught behind off the last ball of the 18th over, before dismissing Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane off the first two balls of the 20th. There were doubts as to whether he could justify his INR 7.2 crore price tag, particularly after he’d been left out of previous games, but a bowling analysis of 4 for 11 and batting returns of 20 off 10 balls go some way to suggesting he might be worth the hype.

Of the seven batsmen to be dismissed during this incredibly hilarious/pathetic (choose adjective based on where your allegiances lie) period of play, four ended with their stumps in some sort of disarray. Pant had his middle peg neatly knocked out of the ground by Shami, the annoying wires attached to the stump camera ruining the possibility that it might carthweel towards the wicketkeeper. Hanuma Vihari had two stumps – leg and middle – blasted out of the ground in Shami’s next over, as he aimed a swipe over midwicket. Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane had their woodwork rattled by Curran to end the match, and in between, there was Ashwin’s run out, and the two catches off Ingram and Harshal Patel. It was like watching a train derailing in slow motion.

Although both teams lost wickets in quick succession in the end, their 62-run fourth wicket stands laid the platforms that the middle and lower orders squandered. For Kings XI, Sarfaraz Khan and David Miller launched a recovery from 58 for 3 and helped ensure that although they did not deliver the team to a good total, they got them to a half-decent one. Pant and Ingram came together with Delhi at 82 for 3 and seemed to be marching resolutely towards that sub-par target – Kings XI’s middle-overs bowlers seemingly no match for the pair. Miller was the highest scorer of the four, hitting 43 off 30 balls. Pant was the fastest – his 39 coming off 26 balls. Sarfaraz and Ingram both faced 29 balls, making 39 and 38 respectively.

The Kings XI innings was not without its bright spots, but they lost six wickets for 36 runs towards the end of their innings and landed upon a modest score, which Delhi were chasing down with ease before the rains came. Delhi’s Duckworth-Lewis-Stern victory was set up by death bowlers Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada, who shared five wickets between them, before Delhi’s top order orchestrated a straightforward chase – Pant and Ingram top-scoring. At least one of these batsmen – perhaps both – seemed headed for a half-century, but were denied the milestone by rain’s arrival.