Delhi knock out Punjab and take top spot
Delhi Daredevils 145 for 4 (Warner 79) beat Kings XI Punjab 141 for 8 (Chitnis 38, Mahmood 36, Morkel 4-20, Yadav 3-19) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Delhi Daredevils confirmed their standing as the team to beat with a fearsome opening burst from their fast bowlers, Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav, before a typically brutal David Warner innings pretty much guaranteed top spot. Kings XI Punjab, one of the lower-profile teams in the tournament, managed to stay alive till the final weekend of the league phase but couldn't make it to the playoffs as a power-packed Daredevils line-up dismantled them with ease on a spicy pitch in Dharamsala. The result also meant that Mumbai Indians became the third team to qualify for the playoffs.
On one of the best tracks for fast bowlers in the IPL this season, Daredevils stacked their team with five quicks, four of whom could nudge the 90-mph mark. Morkel and Yadav were virtually unplayable with the new ball, and by the end of the Powerplay overs, Kings XI were reduced to 20 for 4 and their campaign was seemingly over.
Mandeep Singh has been Kings XI's most prolific batsman this season, but he fell for a golden duck as he was drawn into nibbling an away-cutter from Yadav to the keeper. Adam Gilchrist has a century and two fifties in his last three innings in Dharamsala but he was dismissed cheaply this time, top-edging a pull, in what might well be his final competitive innings.
Paul Valthaty's disastrous season continued, as he flailed about in his comeback game against some high-quality pace from Yadav and Morkel before finally holing out for a ten-ball 2. The biggest blow, though, was in the sixth over, when Yadav got Hussey to mishit a shortish ball to mid-on. Yadav finished his first spell with the figures of 3-1-4-3.
Kings XI have been written off before, only to repeatedly show they were no pushovers. They proved it again as Azhar Mahmood, who has been instrumental to Kings XI's fight this season, stabilised the innings with a 57-run stand with Siddharth Chitnis. Both struggled to time the ball early on, but some freebies from Andre Russell helped them find their feet.
There has been a clamour for Russell's inclusion this season, especially given Ross Taylor's horror run with the bat but the allrounder had a day to forget, leaking 51 runs on a day when no one else in his team went at more than 6.25. His worst over was the 17th, which was taken for 22 runs with Gurkeerat powering three boundaries, before Mahmood rounded it off with two more. That lifted the run-rate above six for the first time in the innings.
Kings XI finished with 141, which seemed enough to challenge a Daredevils side missing both Virender Sehwag and Taylor. Those hopes were dashed once Warner unleashed those familiar hits over long-on and midwicket, again highlighting the number of match-winners Daredevils have in their squad.
It wasn't a flawless innings from Warner, who was hit by a bouncer from Ryan Harris early on, edged plenty and was put down at midwicket by Mandeep. That drop came at the end of an over in which Warner had muscled three sixes and a four off Parvinder Awana. Twenty-three came off that over as Awana, who went for only 12 in his four overs last game, watched helplessly.
Warner chopped the first ball of the next over to bring up his 50 off 25 balls on a pitch where most batsmen struggled. He couldn't add to his collection of Twenty20 centuries, though, as he slapped Harris to Mandeep at point in the 13th over. There was a brief lull in the scoring after that, but with the required-rate just above four, Daredevils were never really in trouble of losing.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo