IPL 2017, RPS vs KXIP: Shardul Thakur’s spell is SK turning point of the match
Shardul Thakur's spell broke the backbone of KXIP batting line-up.
Rising Pune Supergiant thumped Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets in their do-or-die encounter at home. In doing so, they also went up to second position in the points table with 18 points to their name and confirmed a playoff spot for themselves.
Winning the toss, RPS skipper Steve Smith chose to field first. His bowlers didn’t let him down as they bundled KXIP up for 73 runs inside 15.5 overs.
Shardul Thakur was the pick of the RPS bowlers, picking up 3-19 in his four overs. Jaydev Unadkat, Dan Christian and Adam Zampa also bowled well as they picked up a couple of wickets each.
The Rising Pune Supergiant, in reply, raced to the target in 12 overs, losing just one wicket in the form of Rahul Tripathi(28). Ajinkya Rahane (34) and Steve Smith(15) were the ones who remained unbeaten at the crease.
It all started right on the first delivery of the KXIP innings as Martin Guptill departed trying to attempt a lofted shot. He tried to hit a widish delivery from Unadkat over the in-field for a boundary.
Instead, he ended up hitting it straight to Manoj Tiwary placed at short cover. Thus Guptill departed for a golden duck and Punjab found themselves in trouble at 0/1 right on the first ball.
Wriddhiman Saha and Shaun Marsh tried to steady the KXIP ship for a while with a brief stand of 19 runs for the second wicket. However, they went deep in trouble with the beginning of Shardul Thakur’s spell, as he went on a rampage, breaking the backbone of the KXIP batting line-up.
The Turning Point
It was the third delivery of the third over of KXIP’s innings, bowled by Shardul Thakur. Runs were hard to come by and Marsh was looking to up the ante.
While trying so, he went for a lofted straight drive over the in-field. However, Steve Smith was quick to move in from mid-off to take a superb catch to dismiss his Australian team-mate. Thus, Marsh departed for 10(13) with KXIP’s score reading 19/2 in the fourth over.
Thakur again returned to bowl in the last over of power-play. And this time it was double the fun for him and his team as KXIP were dealt a double blow with the dismissals of Rahul Tewatia and Glenn Maxwell.
Tewatia tried to go for a hook off a short delivery from Thakur and ended up top-edging it. It was Unadkat again who ran in quickly from short fine leg to take a superb diving catch. He had just effected a superb run-out to dismiss Eoin Morgan in the previous over and it looked like it was hard to keep Unadkat out of action.
The two wickets that Thakur claimed didn’t seem to be enough for him as he claimed the prized wicket of KXIP skipper Glenn Maxwell also in the same over. Walking out to bat with his side in trouble on a score of 32/4, Maxwell took a look at the wicket carefully for the first couple of deliveries without taking a run.
When he saw a delivery on the pads on the penultimate ball of the over, his eyes lit up and he went for an ambitious flick. However, he ended up hitting it straight to the hands of Ajinkya Rahane at deep square leg. Maxwell ended up giving Thakur his third wicket of the evening and Punjab’s hopes seemed to be lost with the fall of his wicket.
Thakur later came on to bowl another over outside the power-play but went wicketless in that over. Nevertheless, no one can take away from him what he had achieved with his beautiful and match winning spell of 3-19 in his 4 overs. It was as a result of his spell that Punjab lost half of their side for just 32 runs inside the power-play.