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26th Match (N), Kolkata, April 12, 2019, Indian Premier League
(18.5/20 ov, T:179) 180/3

Capitals won by 7 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)


High-flying Shikhar Dhawan fires Delhi Capitals into the top four

He stayed unbeaten on 97 to see Capitals cruised home in a potentially tricky chase; Pant chipped in with 46

Shikhar Dhawan acknowledges the applause as Rishabh Pant looks on, Kolkata Knight Riders v Delhi Capitals, IPL 2019, Kolkata, April 12, 2019


Delhi Capitals 180 for 3 (Dhawan 97*, Pant 46) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 178 for 7 (Gill 65, Russell 45, Morris 2-38, Rabada 2-42) by seven wickets
Shikhar Dhawan was denied a maiden T20 century, but Delhi Capitals would gladly take the two points that took them to their fourth win of the season. That he missed out on the landmark was because Colin Ingram decided to launch Piyush Chawla over long-on with Capitals needing five off eight deliveries.
Kolkata Knight Riders, who slumped to their second straight defeat, should've ended with a bigger score than their 178 for 7. Promoted to open in place of the missing Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill notched up his second IPL half-century, a 39-ball 65, to set it up for the box-office boy Andre Russell.
The Jamaican posted his sixth 40-plus score, making 45 off 21, but a slowdown in between, partly because of Nitish Rana's struggles against spin, played a hand in the final total. It was soon after this stifle that Capitals carefully used Kagiso Rabada, and unleashed him later against Russell, who had his revenge this time around. Yet, there was a lingering feeling that Capitals would've gladly taken a chase of 179.
Then in the chase, Dhawan, who has been sluggish so far in the tournament, pottering around in the Powerplay to put immense pressure on the middle order, came out flying high and swatting short deliveries to the square boundaries. He was helped in no small measure by Rishabh Pant as they won by seven wickets.
Gill's setup for late flourish
Joe Denly fell first ball to an Ishant Sharma peach, an inducker sneaking through the gap to flatten off stump. This had little effect on Gill, whose balance and poise left an indelible mark. He added 63 with vice-captain Robin Uthappa, during the course of which they played some classical shots.
Uthappa, who slapped a Keemo Paul free-hit over long-on for the Capitals' first six, made 28 before being caught magnificently by a leaping Pant off Rabada's bouncer in the ninth over. Gill however kept up the pressure on the Capitals, reaching his first fifty of the season off 34 balls. He fell in the 16th over when he picked out short fine-leg off Paul.
But Russell can't take it deep
Russell had more than seven overs to give the Knight Riders a great finish. He waited for stability before teeing off. He launched Rabada for three off his four sixes - two of which were swatted disdainfully to the square leg boundary off quick bouncers. But Chris Morris removed him with ten balls to spare, and with Carlos Brathwaite failing to make the most of it, the Knight Riders had to settle for a middling total.
Shaw shows the way
It may go unnoticed, but Prithvi Shaw's two sixes off Lockie Ferguson in the second over had a multiplier effect on the chase. The first of those was smacked over the cover fence, while the second was more of a mishit off a top-edged pull. This start, however, got Dhawan going in the opening partnership that was terminated in the third over when Dinesh Karthik plucked an outstanding catch diving full length to his right.
Chase guided by Dhawan
Shreyas Iyer fell in the sixth over to put more pressure on Dhawan, who also had a reprieve when he was given not out on a review, despite snicko showing a small spike. However, with the onfield decision being not out and there being considerable doubt, he was reprieved. From thwre on, Dhawan was a man possessed.
At the other end, Pant pasted Kuldeep Yadav for a one-handed six over long-off, and then matched Dhawan with his sweeps and pulls. Just when he looked set to finish it off, over-aggression got the better of him as he skied a one-handed slog to Nitish Rana on 46. Dhawan, however, wasn't going to be denied.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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