New Delhi: Twin fifties from Punjab were enough to mow down Delhi's modest 166-run target at Mohali. KL Rahul made the headlines for hitting the fastest fifty in the T20 League, thus giving Punjab a super start in their chase of 166. He made 51 off 16 balls including 6 boundaries and 4 sixes. Later, when he departed, his Karnataka teammate Karun Nair took over and dropped anchor. Punjab eventually won by six wickets with 7 balls to spare.
After having restricted Delhi well below a par total, KL Rahul came out in a devastating mood and flayed Delhi's bowling in the first five overs. In a way, his knock ensured Punjab had an easy course ahead. His onslaught began in the first over itself as he hit Trent Boult for a six and a couple of fours. Then it was Mohammed Shami who was to face Rahul wrath. In his over Rahul got another six and a four. And then came the over which changed it all for Punjab and deflated Delhi.
Amit Mishra was brought in to slow things down but Rahul was so charged up that he went after Mishra and thrashed him. He got 24 runs off that over, including 2 sixes and three boundaries. Rahul had done his bit and in the fifth over, he was back in the pavilion.
Then came Karun Nair. He batted exactly the opposite way to Rahul. If Rahul'sd innings gave Punjab a dream start, Nair's fifty ensured Punjab maintained the tempo in the middle phase. His innings of 50 in 33 balls was laced with 5 boundaries and two sixes. Later, it David Miller and Marcus Stoinis ensured Punjab get full points from this game.
Earlier, Delhi struggled to put a strong foot forward and could only score a modest 166 on a good Mohali wicket. Thanks largely to skipper Gautam Gambhir for churning out a much needed fifty but the middle order failure meant that Delhi could never take off. Alongside Gambhir, Rishabh Pant scored a quick fire 28 and in the end, Chris Morris contributed 27.
From the Punjab bowling, Ashwin's smart thinking in the power play made all the difference. The mix more spin with less pace ensured Delhi were not let go easily and struggled to put even fifty in the first six. Punjab's mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman picked up two wickets and finished with figures of 2/28. Ashwin too bowled tidily and picked up 1/23 in his quota. Pacer Mohit Sharma too provided crucial breakthroughs, both at the top and at the death, breaking Delhi's back.