New Delhi: In a low-scoring game, it just takes a couple of wickets to turn things around. KXIP were restricted to a lowly 143 by DD and there was happiness all over the dug-out. But little were they aware that on a tricky Kotla wicket, even a score of 143 was equivalent of chasing 180. With the ball stopping and coming, and rearing up at times, Ankit Rajpoot applied proper maths to strike twice and bring KXIP back in the match.
The UP pacer, who replaced experienced Mohit Sharma in the Punjab outfit was on the money on Monday night. He took a leaf out of Liam Plunkett's spell, who picked three wickets for 17 runs. Plunkett had hit the deck hard but not too short to sow seeds of confusion in Punjab's batsmen's minds. Later, he varied his pace with the old ball to deliver telling blows.
Rajpoot too started off in a similar fashion and stuck to just short of good length. The new ball did skid nicely on to the bat but he made sure he wasn't going fuller. In his second over, he hit the same length as Plunkett bowled to Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw was caught in the same position. The end result on both occasions turned out to be exactly similar as Shaw too lost his timber.
The next was danger-man Glenn Maxwell. He too sparked early on but Rajpoot kept hitting the deck hard. Maxwell had pulled Andrew Tye for a six but this time, the ball reared up to him and he couldn't complete the swing. The ball climbed high into the sky and Maxwell was caught.
That is what good bowing could do. Andrew Tye, from the other end, too followed on Rajpoot's footsteps and probed the same length. With Gambhir struggling with his timing, he got desperate and tried to tuck one to leg only to see the ball lobbing off his leading edge. This happened before Maxwell got out.
Three wickets brought Punjab back in the game. Later, Rishabh Pant was foxed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman for the second time this IPL. He was castled. Then, Dan Christian ran himself out on the double. DD were going the same way Punjab went and needed stands to overhaul the target.