Kings XI Punjab prevail as DD continue to lose
By Abhishek Hore
New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) Kings XI Punjab emerged winner by four runs as embattled Delhi Daredevils' woeful run of form in the Indian Premier League continued despite a change in venue and many changes in the team here today.
A heavily-rejigged Daredevils produced a much-improved bowling performance to restrict Kings XI Punjab to 143 for eight but the visitors staged a strong comeback to stop Delhi at 139 for eight.
Shreyas Iyer tried his bit with 57 off 45 balls, but that was not enough, as the trio of Ankit Rajpoot, Andrew Tye and Mujeeb ur Rahman picked up two wickets apiece to derail Daredevils' chase.
The hosts were off to a brisk start with the highly-talented Prithvi Shaw eking out a few boundaries, including one fine shot through point.
But, while going for one too many, the youngster lost his wicket to pacer Ankit Rajpoot, who bowled with fire to return figures of 2/23 in four overs.
Rajpoot followed that up by claiming the big fish Glenn Maxwell (12), and the Daredevils' chase seemed to be floundering when skipper Gautam Gambhir (4), looking woefully out of form, got a leading edge to make the long walk back to the dugout.
Daredevils were 48 for three at the end of the six powerplay overs, and Punjab could sniff another victory after making their way back into the match.
The onus was on the in-form Rishabh Pant (4) and Shreyas Iyer, both coming off smashing half centuries, but 17-year-old spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman from Afghanistan had other ideas as he struck with his very first ball, his carrom ball making its way through the gap between bat and pad.
Daredevils struggled to break the shackles and the situation became worse when Daniel Christian was run out by a brilliant throw from the deep by Mayank Agwarwal.
The home team needed 43 runs in the last four overs and, to everyone's surprise, it was Rahul Tewatia, who brought the equation down to 28 off 18 after he gleefully smashed Barinder Sran's overpitched offering straight over the bowler's head, picking 17 runs in total.
Tye dismissed Tewatia (24 off 21 balls) as Daredevils needed 21 in the last two overs. Plunkett came and went back for a golden duck, leaving Daredevils with an arduous task of scoring 17 in six balls. Delhi failed to do so despite Iyer whacking Mujeeb for a straight six and a four.
Earlier, opting to field after winning the toss, Daredevils quickly snuffed out the wicket of Aaron Finch through Avesh Khan.
Entering the game as a beleaguered unit, the bottom-placed Daredevils made as many as five changes, including handing out IPL debuts to Liam Plunkett and the young Prithvi Shaw.
And what a debut it turned out to be for Plunkett, who returned terrific figures of 3/17 in his full quota of four overs. Trent Boult and Avesh Khan had two wickets apiece.
The move to make many changes worked as the hosts managed to keep the in-form Kings XI Punjab to a modest total.
The rampaging Chris Gayle was forced to sit out the game due to a sore back and his absence was certainly felt by Kings XI Punjab.
Playing in his maiden IPL game, Plunkett impressed on this occasion as he foxed KL Rahul with a slower off-cutter, handing Delhi the momentum with the big wicket at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium.
The Kotla was packed but one of the stands, which failed to meet SDMC norms, wore a deserted look.
Before Rahul's dismissal meanwhile, Khan banged one short and Finch's miscued pull went to Shreyas Iyer.
It wasn't a very bad start as far as net run rate was concerned, but KXIP suffered another blow, as Plunkett uprooted Mayank Agarwal's stumps after beating him for pace.
Veteran Yuvraj Singh looked tentative in his 17-ball 14, and his struggle ended when he under-edged an attempted pull off Avesh Khan to Rishabh Pant