Punjab Kings fail to execute plans in costly defeat

It was a day to forget for Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Wednesday against Delhi Capitals (DC) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter in Dharamsala. PBKS succumbed to a 15-run defeat to DC at the iconic HPCA Stadium, despite getting multiple lifelines.

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PBKS had come into this match with 12 points from as many games, and the defeat to the Capitals now put them in a tough position (12 points from 13 games now). They have just one game remaining now (vs Rajasthan Royals on 19 May), and two points in that game would take their tally only to 14, which may very well be not enough. But, who knows, the IPL this season has been unpredictable to say the least, but PBKS have been left now hoping for a miracle to happen i.e, other teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and RR slip up.

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Where did PBKS go wrong?

The powerplay and the death overs (of DC’s innings). Punjab Kings bowlers endured a difficult powerplay against the Capitals.

Prithvi Shaw was back in the playing XI for DC, and he sure came back with a fresh mindset. Shaw scored his first half-century of the season (54 off 38 balls) as DC made the powerplay overs count.

DC have previously found the going tough in the first six overs as far as powerplay is concerned, but that was not the case on Wednesday. Warner and Shaw began on a rather slow note in the first two overs, but changed gears after the DC skipper collected a couple of boundaries in the third over.

Warner punished Kagiso Rabada for two sixes in the fourth over, while Shaw amassed 16 runs off Arshdeep Singh’s over to carry on the momentum for DC.

DC managed 61 off the first six overs, and Warner even received a lifeline in the 10th over after he was dropped by Rahul Chahar off Nathan Ellis’ bowling.

However, it took a spectacular catch from Shikhar Dhawan off Sam Curran’s bowling to break the stand and finally get rid of Warner.

Prithvi Shaw followed suit in the 15th over, and it was upto Rilee Rossouw (82*) and Phil Salt (26*), as the duo forged an unbeaten 65-run stand for the third wicket to take DC to 213/2.

It was some poor death bowling from PBKS that led to them conceding these many runs. And maybe, tactical decisions too.

Nathan Ellis was assigned to bowl the 19th over of the DC innings, and the Aussie eventually went for 18 runs. What’s more, Arshdeep Singh had two overs remaining, and he was not asked to bowl the final over. Instead, it was spinner Harpreet Brar.

Brar endured a forgettable final over, conceding two sixes and a four to Rossouw as 23 runs came from the 20th over. His inconsistent lines cost him and the team dearly, with Rossouw collecting boundaries for fun.

After the match, Dhawan said his decision to bowl spin in the final over had backfired.

“I felt my decision to bowl spin off the last over backfired. The momentum also went there. Before that, my fast bowlers got hit for 18-20 runs. Those two overs cost us the game,” said the PBKS skipper.

Taide retires out, Livingstone fails to make use of free-hit

PBKS had not got to the best of starts in the run-chase after they had lost Shikhar Dhawan (0) very early. Prabhsimran Singh, who had scored a century against DC just a few days back, failed to reignite his magic with the bat again despite a 50-run stand with Atharva Taide. Yet, Punjab Kings needed a 78-run stand between Taide and Liam Livingstone (94) to stay alive in the game.

What, however, changed the course of the run chase was Taide’s decision to “retire out” in the 15th over, something Ravichandran Ashwin had done for Rajasthan Royals last season. PBKS still needed 86 runs off 30 balls when Taide took the decision, but Jitesh Sharma, the batter who came into bat, failed to make any impact whatsoever. Jitesh eventually endured a three-ball duck.

Even until the final over, Punjab Kings were never in the chase. They needed 33 runs off the last over to win the contest, and Ishant Sharma was the bowler asked to defend it for DC.

DC were far from perfect on the field despite the win, with Yash Dhull and Anrich Nortje putting down sitters early on, but this was a chance for DC to get a consolation win.

Ishant began with a dot ball to Liam Livingstone, but things turned from bad to worse for the veteran pacer when Livingstone made use of two full tosses to hit for a six and a four.

In the fourth ball, Ishant once again unleashed a high full toss, which Livingstone drilled towards long-off for a maximum. That was an above-waist no-ball, and DC reviewed the decision but to no avail.

Punjab Kings needed 16 to win off three legal deliveries, but Livingstone failed to make use of the free-hit. A full toss outside off from Ishant, Livingstone failed to go over long-off and instead slogged towards deep midwicket. Livingstone’s miss proved costly, let alone the small hope PBKS had in the contest.

16 from two balls was an improbable task and while Livingstone would have liked a consolation of sorts with a potential century, Ishant had other plans. In the final ball of the match, Livingstone went big, looking to go over long off, but failed to execute the shot well and eventually holed it to Axar Patel. Livingstone was eventually dismissed for 94.

The defeat for PBKS means they face a long wait for other results to go in their favour, while they look to beat RR on Friday. All in all, PBKS’ hopes of qualifying for the playoffs look bleak.

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