Delhi Capitals 213 for 2 (Rossouw 82*, Shaw 54, Curran 2-36) beat Punjab Kings 198 for 8 (Livingstone 94, Taide 55, Nortje 2-36, Ishant 2-36) by 15 runs
A dazzling display of boundary hitting all around the ground from Rilee Rossouw in his unbeaten 82 off 37, combined with useful contributions from the other Delhi Capitals top-four batters, handed Punjab Kings a 15-run defeat and severely dented their playoff chances.
Kings got close to the finish line in the end, thanks to a belligerent 94 off 48 from Liam Livingstone, but he fought a lone battle. The loss kept Kings on the eighth spot with 12 points. They now depend on many other results going their way to stay alive in the playoffs race because they have only one match to go, and three teams are already above 14 points, which is the most Kings can get to.
Kings were mostly behind the asking rate right from the start because their only other batter who scored over 25 was Atharva Taide, who struggled for fluency and retired out on 55 off 42 balls. Livingstone's pursuit of boundaries in the end kept Kings' slim hopes alive, whether they needed 79 off 24 or 38 off 12. In the last over too, when they needed 23 from the last three balls, they got a lifeline when Ishant Sharma sent down a no-ball which Livingstone sent for six, making it 16 required from three with a free hit coming. But Livingstone failed to connect with the subsequent full toss and holed out to long-off on the last ball.
Warner, Shaw flick the switch on
In the first IPL game in Dharamsala in ten years, David Warner and Prithvi Shaw saw out the first 16 balls for no boundaries before racing away. Warner broke the shackles with consecutive fours off Sam Curran before pulling Kagiso Rabada for two sixes. Shaw too got going when he saw Arshdeep Singh's short balls didn't have much pace. He pulled and glanced him for 4, 4 and 6 in a 16-run over. When Warner also put away Nathan Ellis' slower balls for fours, Capitals ended the powerplay on 61 and soon brought up their highest opening stand of this IPL.
Rossouw's fifty takes it up a notch
Rahul Chahar wasn't having a good day. Soon after he was put away for three fours in his first two overs by Shaw, he dropped a tough chance to give Warner a life on 39. Warner continued to attack because Capitals had all ten wickets in hand at the halfway mark. But when he skied one more, Shikhar Dhawan completed a spectacular catch at mid-off to remove him for 46 off 31.
Capitals kept the left-right combination by sending out Rossouw at No. 3, and he attacked literally from ball one. That he pulled his first ball for four and drove his third for four more showed how good the pitch was for batting. The range he showed in the 13th over off Rabada epitomised his innings; a length ball hit straight for six, another length ball placed just wide of short third for four, and yet another length ball dispatched over square leg with a lovely pick-up shot for six in a 17-run over. Not long after Rossouw also punished Chahar and Curran for sixes, Shaw holed out for 54 in the 15th over.
Kings trust Brar for death overs
Rossouw had raced away to 45 off 21, and Capitals to 148, with five overs to go when Dhawan bravely brought on Harpreet Brar, who gave away just 14 runs in the 16th and 18th overs combined, before Phil Salt and Rossouw made up for it in the last two. Salt smoked Ellis for two sixes over long-on while also edging one delivery for four.
For the final over, Dhawan once again trusted Brar instead of the designated death bowler Arshdeep, who had been expensive in his first two. Rossouw mercilessly muscled Brar, who also gifted two wides, for two sixes and a four on the leg side. A misfield on the last ball from Rabada at fine leg gave Capitals their first 200-plus total of the season.
Kings also start slow
The Capitals quicks hardly gave any freebies early on. Khaleel Ahmed started with a maiden to Prabhsimran Singh, Ishant had Dhawan caught at slip for a duck, and Khaleel nearly bowled another maiden to keep Kings on 10 for 1 after three. Prabhsimran then hit the pedal with three consecutive fours before Taide also collected boundaries to get out of the hole of 1 off eight balls. Prabhsimran and Taide also enjoyed a fair share of luck. Their leading edges fell safe, and Capitals missed a few direct hits. Taide's edges even fetched him some boundaries. Kings finished the powerplay on 47 for 1, with the asking rate almost 12 an over.
Livingstone stands tall but alone
As soon as Prabhsimran holed out to long-on off Axar Patel, it was all a Livingstone show. It started with Livingstone getting a life on 3 off Kuldeep Yadav when Anrich Nortje put him down at deep midwicket, and Taide too got dropped off Kuldeep in his next over. Taide, however, could not score freely as he struggled to find the gaps or go over the fielders.
Livingstone, meanwhile, made use of his big bat swings for plenty of hits in the 'V' down the ground when the bowlers missed their lengths even marginally. He hit a boundary nearly every over and was only beaten by Kuldeep a couple of times. In the 15th over, he dispatched two full tosses from Mukesh Kumar for fours but Taide was labouring at the other end and he retired out when Kings needed a stiff 86 from 30 with their hitters Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan and Curran yet to come.
Despite the firepower in the dugout, the heavy lifting was left for Livingstone. Jitesh holed out to long leg for a duck in the 16th and Shahrukh found long-on in the 17th. Meanwhile, Livingstone blasted two sixes and a four off Khaleel, and three sixes came off Mukesh in the 18th to make it 38 required from 12. Nortje then rattled Curran's leg stump with a yorker and when 33 were left from the last six balls, Ishant started with a dot to all but seal it. His no-ball was thwarted for six, but he finished the game with three dots and send Kings' hopes crashing.