Kings XI Punjab cemented their place at the top of the Indian Premier League with a four-wicket victory over the struggling Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi.
The Daredevils fell away from a solid start to reach 164-7 from their 20 overs, and a lightning start from the Kings XI meant that they were able to withstand a wobble to reach their target with a couple of deliveries to spare.
Punjab have plenty to play for, while Delhi's tournament is effectively over—and it showed in the result.
|Delhi Daredevils Scorecard|
|Murali Vijay||c Beuran Hendricks b Sandeep Sharma||5||8||62.50||1||0|
|Kevin Pietersen||b Akshar Patel||49||32||153.12||6||1|
|Dinesh Karthik||c Rishi Dhawan b Beuran Hendricks||69||44||156.81||7||3|
|JP Duminy||c Glenn Maxwell b Beuran Hendricks||17||21||80.95||1||0|
|Kedar Jadhav||c Glenn Maxwell b Sandeep Sharma||0||1||0.00||0||0|
|Mayank Agarwal||b Sandeep Sharma||6||2||300.00||0||1|
|Manoj Tiwary||NOT OUT||10||8||125.00||1||0|
|Wayne Parnell||c Glenn Maxwell b Beuran Hendricks||2||2||100.00||0||0|
|Mohammed Shami||NOT OUT||1||2||50.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 4, lb 1)||5|
|TOTAL||(7 wickets; 20 overs)||164||TOTAL|
Delhi began well; Murali Vijay was an early casualty, but the combination of Kevin Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik laid a solid foundation.
Pietersen was the first to open up, unfurling some of his trademark shots on his way to his highest score of the tournament. When he fell for 49, Karthik kicked on, his score of 69 from 44 balls enhanced by three maximums.
But Delhi have all too often lost their way in the seventh edition of the IPL, and this innings was no exception.
JP Duminy was ponderous, while the rest of the middle and lower order simply lost their momentum altogether.
A score that threatened to be close to 200 ended up a more vulnerable 164-7.
|Kings XI Punjab Scorecard|
|Virender Sehwag||c Manoj Tiwary b JP Duminy||23||22||104.54||2||1|
|Manan Vohra||c Murali Vijay b Imran Tahir||42||19||221.05||4||3|
|Glenn Maxwell||b Imran Tahir||14||11||127.27||0||1|
|David Miller||b JP Duminy||2||6||33.33||0||0|
|Wriddhiman Saha||c Wayne Parnell b Mohammed Shami||13||13||100.00||1||0|
|Akshar Patel||NOT OUT||42||35||120.00||5||1|
|George Bailey||c Kedar Jadhav b Imran Tahir||6||7||85.71||0||0|
|Rishi Dhawan||NOT OUT||8||5||160.00||1||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 11, lb 4)||15|
|TOTAL||(6 wickets; 19.4 overs)||165|
Kings XI have relied on the middle order fulcrum of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller during the tournament, but when Manon Vohra and Virender Sehwag blasted 66 runs from the first six overs, it seemed as if they would scarcely be required.
Vohra's hitting in his 19-ball 42 was impeccable—a six lofted over the off side on the back foot was particularly brilliant.
But when he picked out long-off, the impetus of the Kings XI innings was lost: 66-0 became 94-4, with Maxwell and Miller in and then out.
It required some composure to rebuild the innings, but the required run rate was already in Punjab's favour—Wriddhiman Saha and Akshar Patel needed 71 from 60 balls.
Together they combined for 32 of those runs, but Saha presented a catch to Wayne Parnell off the bowling of Mohammed Shami—an incident initially completely dismissed by the umpires as a bump ball until Parnell objected.
Kings XI captain George Bailey had held himself back, and he played foil to Patel as the finishing line came into sight.
A rush of blood to the head saw him hole out to become Imran Tahir's third victim, and with nine required from the final over, there was just a sliver of hope for Delhi once more.
But winning and losing are habits, and Rishi Dhawan was nerveless in the final over, exploiting a rusty Parnell and clubbing a four over midwicket to get his side over the line once more.