The first Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 contest between the Punjab Kings (PBKS) and the Delhi Capitals (DC) was a thriller, which DC prevailed in after a Super Over. While the first encounter between the sides in 2021 didn't quite go that deep, it was another entertaining exhibition with some fine ball-striking on display.
On PBKS skipper KL Rahul's birthday, his team - led well by him - posted a colossal 195 on the board, on the same ground where they had been restricted to little more than half that score against the Chennai Super Kings.
Read about the updated DC Vs PBKS Head to Head Stats.
Although the two matches had widely different totals set, the PBKS suffered morale-sapping defeats both times. Here against DC, Dhawan's 92 flattened them, while Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, and Marcus Stoinis completed the job, leaving PBKS with a solitary win after three games.
Here are three reasons why PBKS lost to DC in the evening game on April 18.
3. Poor form of PBKS' international batsmen
PBKS entered the contest against DC after a poor batting show, where no middle-order batsman other than Shahrukh Khan scored more than 15. While Chris Gayle scored runs in the first game at a good clip, the same cannot be said of Nicholas Pooran, who is stuck with just nine runs after three matches.
In this game, the duo scored just 20 runs off 17 balls between them, wasting the brilliant foundation set by the openers.
PBKS require a strong bridge between the openers and their Indian middle-order bashers in Deepak Hooda and Shahrukh Khan, given how they play with a rather short batting order.
If Pooran is so miserably out of form, they have a number of quality replacements - no better than Englishman Dawid Malan. PBKS may also fill the gaps in their team with all-rounders like Moises Henriques or Fabian Allen if they want better totals on the board.
2. Mohammed Shami's off-day
Towards the end of the match, DC all-rounder Lalit Yadav top-edged a ball that went miles into the air. Mohammed Shami was close to it but never seemed to be in control, and eventually, the ball fell a few feet away from him. That moment aptly summarised what was one of the most forgettable days in the IPL for Shami in recent times.
The PBKS spearhead conceded a total of 53 runs from his 4 overs, having been dominated by the DC openers during the powerplay and hit for a six in the third over he bowled.
It was in his final over, the 17th of the game, that he conceded the game with two free hits to Marcus Stoinis. The Aussie all-rounder would have been out caught had one of those no-balls been a legal delivery. Instead, the over went for 20, and DC comfortably finished off the chase.
1. DC openers get back to pristine form
The game against the Rajasthan Royals, which DC allowed to slip from within their grasp, appears a mere aberration between two commanding chases by the Rishabh Pant-led franchise. DC's first game saw the duo rack up a 100-plus run partnership, while this game had both openers score at a strike rate close to 190.
The key through this IPL, barring one or two games, has been a batsman finishing the game by batting deep while others play around him. Dhawan's aggressive innings, in which he found the gaps without taking unnecessary risks, did not spare even PBKS' strike bowlers. The duo scored 59 runs within the powerplay overs to ensure DC was never behind PBKS at any point in the run-chase.