Kings XI Punjab furnished the proof of their helplessness against Delhi Daredevils in match no.31 of the ongoing Indian Premier League at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground on May Day. Sent into batting first, the visitors were decimated to 10/4 in the fourth over and finally ended their woes at 118/8 in 20 overs, thanks to a combined score of 82 by three batsmen; George Bailey, David Miller and Axar Patel. With 8 extras conceded by Delhi Daredevils, the remaining 7 batsmen could add a shamefully cumulated score of 28. Among themselves, DD bowlers Zaheer Khan, JP Duminy and Nathan Coulter-Nile gobbled up 7 out of 8 wickets that fell in 12 overs that yielded just 52 runs. That the last year’s runner-up team were so completely outplayed was demonstrated by their poor bowling in DD’s 119-run chase as the hosts raced away to a solid opening stand of 106. Only Shreyas Iyer fell in DD’s innings as the nine-wicket victory came with more than 6 overs remaining. While DD produced their most dominant performance in this season of IPL, the supposedly formidable batting of KXIP withered like dry autumn leaves. Having hit the rock bottom in the league already, the fate of KXIP appeared sealed with 6 league games remaining for them from now onwards. The big question these days is about the whereabouts of the explosive Glenn Maxwell.
JP Duminy has shown what captaincy can do. The man, who began his IPL career with Mumbai Indians 9 years ago, is the DD captain this year. Englishman Kevin Pietersen was the DD skipper last year and they had a formidable congregation of great batsmen but they failed to make any impression. This season, however, things are different despite DD losing some games. Duminy has shown the way as a lantern-holder with commendable acts as batsman, bowler and an industrious fielder. DD have Yuvraj Singh as well but the guy has failed so far because of the burden of expectations from him. The situation in IPL team constitutions is public knowledge unlike low-cost airlines, where it would be difficult to distinguish as to who is flying at what cost. Yuvraj’s performance is weighed down by his price tag because people want to see what made him the most expensive IPL player. Up until now, he has failed to come good and Duminy and others have done much better.
Duminy won the toss on Friday and elected to field and with KXIP batsmen bent on committing hara-kiri, DD didn’t have to work too hard. Sehwag fell in the first over, Shaun Marsh in the second, Manan Vohra in third and Wriddhiman Saha in the fourth and KXIP were reduced to a pitiful 10/4 in a matter of 21 balls from the start. Veteran speedster Zaheer Khan celebrated his return to competitive cricket with two wickets in the match. David Miller and George Bailey tried to steady the KXIP innings but even their 27-run stand for the fifth wicket couldn’t lift the spirits of the Punjab team. Bailey fell at 37 and Thisara Perera followed him to make it 45/6 in the 10th over. However, Miller and Axar Patel contrived to take the score past 100 before Patel fell as the seventh KXIP wicket at 102 in the 19th over. In the same over from Coulter-Nile, Miller also departed but Shardul Thakur and Anureet Singh took the KXIP score to 118/8 in the 20th over.
Coming out to chase 119 for victory, DD had no problems as openers Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer batted with authority and didn’t allow the Punjab bowlers to dominate them. Sandeep Sharma bowled economically in yielding just 10 runs in 3 overs but he didn’t take any wickets. Agarwal and Iyer found their bearings and since the target was small, they went about the task in a clinical fashion. Runs came easily as the batsmen kept finding gaps and kept up the pace of scoring. All risky play was avoided and the first wicket stand decided the match. Iyer fell in the 13th over but by that time DD were already close to finishing on the winning note. In the end the 9-wicket victory for Delhi was achieved in the 14th over.