Shikhar Dhawan rose to the top of the IPL 2021 Orange Cap standings with a quiet 47-ball 46 amid the Prithvi Shaw fireworks at the other end against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in a 7-wicket win for the Delhi Capitals (DC).
The Capitals have shown why they're regarded as genuine contenders this season, despite being under the leadership of a new skipper. They moved back to second place on the IPL points table, with 10 points from their 7 matches.
Meanwhile, KKR remain in fifth, two points adrift of defending champions Mumbai Indians, and will be looking to improve their performances heading into the business end of the tournament.
Over the years, Dhawan hasn't always ended up on the winning side despite playing some superb knocks against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Here are his top three batting performances against the two-time IPL champions.
3. 47 off 37 (SRH) - Hyderabad, IPL 2013
Not many may remember this, but Shikhar Dhawan has had IPL stints with Delhi and Mumbai, before he became one of the stalwarts of the Hyderabad side. The left-handed batsman has always been regarded as a destructive top-order batter and has provided his team with a solid platform on several occasions.
In this knock against KKR at IPL 2013, Dhawan, alongside Parthiv Patel, ensured that their side get off to the ideal start while chasing a measly 131. Patel got off to a flying start in the powerplay, with Dhawan content to play anchor. Dhawan's change in gears after being on 6 off 14 balls was commendable, as he played out the situation to ensure his side got themselves to an unassailable position.
Even though Dhawan perished in the 12th over, trying to reverse-paddle Iqbal Abdulla and getting caught plumb in front, his solid start ensured his side got over the line in the IPL 2013 fixture.
Check out the updated Purple Cap in IPL 2021 list here.
2. 51 off 30 (SRH) - Kolkata, IPL 2016
In 2016, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner were a destructible opening partnership for SRH, with the two southpaws attacking the best of bowling attacks at will. The two sides locked horns in Kolkata towards the business end of the tournament, days before facing each other again in the Eliminator.
KKR set SRH target of 172 on a slowish Eden Gardens track. The Hyderabad-based side got off to a decent start before losing Warner halfway through the powerplay. Dhawan, however, continued on his merry ways as Naman Ojha stuck around at the other end with a 21-ball 14.
The southpaw got to his half-century in 29 deliveries, but the pressure of the scoreboard eventually got to him with his partner struggling to get a move on at the other end.
Dhawan perished as he tried to take on Kuldeep Yadav, and the wheels came off for the SRH innings soon after. KKR eventually won the game by 22 runs, but it might have been a different story had Dhawan stuck around or had got some reasonable support from the other end.
Despite the disappointment, SRH ended IPL 2016 as champions, with Warner and Dhawan mustering a staggering 848 runs and 501 runs respectively.
3. 97 off 63 (DC) - Kolkata, IPL 2019
Shikhar Dhawan returned to the Delhi Capitals (formerly known as Delhi Daredevils) as part of a revamped side. This time around, Dhawan came in with banks of experience under his belt, having become a stalwart in the Indian side.
In this contest at Eden Gardens, DC captain Shreyas Iyer decided to put KKR in to bat first. The home side set DC a reasonable target of 179, 10-15 runs short of what could be considered par. It may not have mattered though, given how Dhawan was batting.
The southpaw started his innings off in typical fashion, despite losing opening partner Prithvi Shaw early on. He cruised to his fifty in 31 balls, at around the halfway stage of the innings.
The two batsmen put up a 103-run stand before Pant missed out on his half-century. With 17 runs needed off the last three overs, DC would have expected to get there with ease. While they did that, Dhawan was stranded at the non-striker's end on 97, as Colin Ingram finished off the innings in style.
It was no surprise that the Indian opener bagged the Man of the Match award for the performance as well. In the post-match interview, Dhawan reflected on his chances of getting to his maiden IPL century.
"I knew it could be my first T20 hundred but the team goal is more important, hence I took that single rather than taking a huge risk," said Dhawan.