8 April 2018, 19:28 PM
Punjab would owe their success to Karnataka players. Both Rahul and Nair produced fifties and both knocks had their own importance in the course of the match. While Rahul's quickfire onslaught set the platform for Punjab chasing 166, Nair handled the middle phase with maturity. Pounced on the loose deliveries and made sure he got maximum premium. He could have easily finished off the game but threw his wicket away in the 16th over after hitting a big six of the pull. Another pull was miscued and settled in the hands of the fielder in the deep. Later David Miller and Marcus Stoinis, combined well, cut out all the risk and kept nudging towards the victory. Punjab won the game by six wickets with 7 balls to spare. Ashwin began his leadership career with a high winning the opening match. Hopefully, he will change Punjab's fortunes this year.
8 April 2018, 19:02 PM
With Punjab needing 68 off 60, Gambhir employed both his leg-spinners in a bid to go for wickets. Though Mishra proved expensive, Tewatia managed to put pressure on Punjab. In the last 18 balls Punjab could manage 13 runs. In the next five overs, Punjab got 33 runs and reached 132/3 in 15 overs. They needed 35 off 30 balls. Nair was batting on 44 off 30 balls.
8 April 2018, 18:54 PM
Once KL Rahul departed, Karun Nair took over, he might not have been as prolific as Rahul but he has maintained a tempo. Once again, senior partner Yuvraj Singh was a disappointment as he wasn't able to impress with his batting. He struggled against spin and also his timing suffered playing against the quicks. He made 12 off 22 balls. Nair, on the other hand, was at his best against Shami. He hit him for three consecutive fours. The first one was driven over cover, the second was a whip through midwicket and the third was guided through third man. Even though Yuvraj departed in the tenth over, Punjab were on track at 99/3.
8 April 2018, 18:25 PM
Kings XI Punjab couldn't have dreamt for a better start. It was KL Rahul who went berserk and scored the fastest fifty in the tournament off just 15 balls. His knock included six boundaries and four sixes. His onslaught began in the last three balls of th first over when he got couple of fours and a six off Trent Boult. He then showed his intent against Mohammed Shami hitting him for a six and boundary. Then came the over which made the crowd go mad as Rahul thrashed Amit Mishra for 24 runs, including 3 fours and 2 sixes. With that he reached the fastest fifty in just 15 balls and looked in a devastating mood. But in the fifth over, he tried to paddle a full toss from Boult and got the leading edge. He was caught and his quickfire innings 51 in just 16 balls came to an end. Before him, Mayank Agarwal was caught at mid on on 7 in the fourth over. Punjab were 64/2 and were cruising towards the Delhi total.
8 April 2018, 17:41 PM
Delhi lose another wicket. Rahul Tewatia goes this time to signal Delhi's sixth wicket. He tried playing the switch hit against Ashwin, who had come in to bowl his final over. The ball hit flush in front and the umpire wasted no time in raising the finger. Dan Christian walked in to join South African Chris Morris. Ashwin finihsed a tight over giving away just 4 runs to see figures of 4-0-23-1. Delhi were 127/6 in 16th over.
Then it was Mohit Sharma who was given the ball. He bowled tidy first four balls but one fuller delivery gave Morris the opportunity to free his arms and he literally took a golf swing to deposit the ball over long-on fence for a six. Delhi collected 11 off it to reach 138/6.
After that Mujeeb bowled a superb 6-run over to finish with figures off 4-0-28-2.
Andrew Tye bowled the penultimate over. He would have bowled a perfect six-run over but he too bowled the last ball full and was hit for a six over long-on. Delhi were happy getting 11 in that over and reached 155/6 in 19 overs. Sharma returned to bowl the final over. He too gave away 11 runs in the final over but also got a wicket on the last ball. Other than getting hit for a four, Sharma was quite effective and kept his length on spot. Delhi ended their essay on 166/7, which on this wicket didn't look like a par score.
8 April 2018, 17:20 PM
As soon as the 11th over commenced, Delhi had to deal with another blow. Mohit Sharma hit the deck hard but the ball skidded on. Shankar miscued the pull and was caught at long on. Rishabh pant made his walk to the middle. After just two balls, he drilled one full delivery through cover where Karun Nair dived but failed to cut it off. Another seven run over for Delhi there. 84/3.
Then Punjab skipper Ashwin returned in the 12th over. He has bowling really well. Mixing up his pace really well and has also used the crease to the best of his advantage. With a single on the fifth ball, Gambhir reached his 36th fifty and also equalled David Warner's record. Delhi collected 6 off it and were 90/3 in 12 overs.
Then it was Pant who muscelled Andrew Tye in the 13th over and collected 17 runs for delhi. He hit one six over mid-wicket on a length ball and got a couple of fours on the leg side as well. But when he looked to be inching towards half century, he lost his wicket on 28 off 13 balls. Just a ball before getting out, he had hammered a fuller Mujeeb ball down the ground for a four. But the frustration of scoring only in boundaries cost his wicket as he jumped out a little too early. Mujeeb bowled a googly and the ball flew high off Pant's leading edge. Delhi lost their fourth wicket. Rahul Tewatia walked in and opened his account with a switch hit for aboundary. That surprised Mujeeb and Delhi were able to get 11 runs off that over.
Big blow again for Delhi as Gambhir runs himself out in the 15th over. He made 55 off 24 balls. Delhi were struggling at 123/5 in 15 overs.
8 April 2018, 16:55 PM
Aussie Andrew Tye bowled the final over in the powerplay. T20 format demands constant change. As a captain you cannot afford to stick to a combination for too long. After holding Gambhir for the first the balls, he pitched a short ball, to which Gambhir transferred his weight back and pulled the delivery for afour. Tye had to alter his length and finished a good six run over. Delhi reached 45/1 in 6 overs.
Axar Patel was brought back in. As Shreyas Iyer got on strike the second ball, he stepped out and dispatched Patel over his head for a big sixer. But now Patel struck after two balls as Iyer knicked behind a fuller delivery. That was a big blow to Delhi but with gambhir still on the crease, hopes were alive. Vijay Shankar joined Gambhir.
Ashwin bowled the eighth over and he has been spot on. Bowled a legbreak as well and only conceded 7 runs. Patel was called again as Shankar was a right hander. After exchanging singles and doubles for the first four balls, Gambhir sensed the need to take charge and paddled Patel over fine-leg for another bundary. Patel bowled another nine-run over.
The tenth was bowled by Aussie Marcus Stoinis. Kept mixing his length and pace. Finished a seven run. Delhi reached 77/1 in 10 overs.
8 April 2018, 16:38 PM
R Ashwin's Punjab won the toss and opted to bowl against Delhi. The decision was understandable as teams nowdays prefer to have a set score in front. The Mohali was hard and had bounce. Ashwin wanted to restrict Delhi in the first six overs as half the game is won if the team struggles to put a decent start. Ashwin bowled a perfect first over ad kept it tight against Gambhir and Colin Munro. He gave just five runs. Mohit Sharma bowled the next and was pretty much spot on with his length. He probed the good length area and refrained from proffering any width. He too gave five in his over. So far so good for Punjab, not for Delhi. They needed to step on the gas.
Came Afghanistan's mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Delhi were surprised picking his variations. He too bowls quite like Sunil Narine who mixed his off-spin-leg-spin with carrom balls. Mujeeb is from the same mold. Anyway, he struck on his third ball and trapped Munro, who tried executing a switch hit but the length was too full to actually complete the shot. Mujeeb struck and Delhi was dented. In that over, Gambhir used prudence to get away with his over and got just two runs.
Next up it was Axar Patel. You could understand that Ashwin was trying to cut the pace off the ball. Gambhir has been a good player against pace. But here he showed intent against Patel from the first ball and played an inside-out cover drive for a boundary. The following wa fired in on the middle stump and Gambhir planted his foot and executed a slog sweep for another four. The next shot was the best of them all. it was a six. This time as Patel darted another ball into Gambhir, the Delhi made room and just completed his follow through, helping the ball sail over the long-on fence. Delhi milked 17 off Patel first over and reached 30/1 in four overs.
The fifth was bowled by the Afghan bowler. Other than conceding a boundary, he gave just five runs. Delhi capped a nine-run over and Gambhir once again showed his prowess in playing the inside-out shot over cover. Delhi were 39/1 in five overs.