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Curran leaves DC panting

Pant’s return spoiled by all-rounder as Punjab begin season with hard-fought win

Curran leaves DC panting

Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone paved the way for Punjab Kings’ four-wicket win. Tribune photo: Vicky.



Tribune News Service

Deepankar Sharda

Mohali, March 23

It wasn’t the comeback Delhi Capitals’ Rishabh Pant had expected.

Returning to competitive cricket after 15-long months, before hundreds of people and the cacophony of shrills, the DC captain must’ve thought his side had the upper hand but the scales tilted in a matter of minutes — a couple of dropped catches, an injured Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Marsh being hit all around and Pant running out of options all contributed to their defeat.

Pant scored only 18 runs.

I think we had a par score but because we were one bowler short, because of an injury, can’t do much about it We were short in terms of extra bowler. We actually pulled it back in the end (but couldn’t complete the job). — Rishabh Pant, Delhi capitals’ captain

With odds against them, credit should also be given to Punjab Kings, who secured a four-wicket win at the Mullanpur stadium — their new turf — in their opening IPL encounter. Thanks to Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone’s belligerent knocks which stole the limelight from Pant when the chips were down.

Back in the hut, Tristan Stubbs must be cursing himself for dropping Curran, who was on 33 then. He went on to post 63 off 47 balls and was involved in a 67-run partnership with Livingstone (38 off 21 balls) as Punjab chased down 175 with four balls to spare.

Stubbs was not the only one to blame as David Warner dropped Harpreet Brar in the 19th over. And when Punjab needed six to win in the last over, Sumit Kumar bowled two wides as hosts sniffed a win.

“Ishant’s injury was clearly evident because we were anyway one player short because we lagged with the batting a bit. We were short on extra bowling. We actually pulled it back in the end but couldn’t complete the job,” Pant would later say.

Punjab fight back

It was DC’s impact player Abhishek Porel who played an important cameo at the end of the innings. Batting at No. 9, Porel top-scored with an unbeaten 32 off 10 balls to help the side post 174/9 in 20 overs, which gave the visitors’ a fighting chance.

The hosts began their chase with 34 on the board in three overs. Shikhar Dhawan (22 off 16 balls) charged down the wicket only to miss and see his middle stump getting disturbed by his former Delhi teammate Ishant.

Impact substitute Prabhsimran Singh (27 off 17 balls) walked in at No. 3 and shot a boundary through mid-off, showing an aggressive intent. While he chipped away, Jonny Bairstow (9) was run out in an unfortunate fashion as Ishant managed to get his fingertips to a Prabhsimran drive. The ball went on to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end as Bairstow failed to react on time.

In came Curran and the duo gelled well to end Punjab’s powerplay at 60/2. Prabhsimran easily struck Khaleel Ahmed for two successive fours, but couldn’t play the in-form wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who snared him with a googly.

Kuldeep also accounted for Jitesh Sharma, who survived a stumping appeal off Sumit, (9) to leave Punjab in a spot of bother at 100/4.

Kuldeep finished with excellent figures of 2 for 21. He was DC’s best bet for another wicket and could’ve got his third but completed his fourth over in the 14th and Stubbs grassed Curran on 33, the turning point of the game.

With 63 needed from last six overs, Curran and Livingstone milked 18 off Mitchell Marsh. DC were in the game when 28 were needed off three overs. However, by then, Ishant had limped off the field and it was up to Marsh again. The Australian was hit for 18 more and the writing was on the wall. Khaleel put some pressure by dismissing Curran and Shashank Singh but it was too late.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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