The Kings XI Punjab held on to a narrow 4 run victory over the Delhi Daredevils despite a resurgent knock from Shreyas Iyer. Ankit Rajpoot had a stellar outing with the ball for Punjab and earned the man of the match award.
Rajpoot who was pleased with his performance after the game said, “It's my responsibility for the team. I had to get wickets. Wanted to bowl wicket to wicket, and not use too many variations.”
A Gayle-less Kings XI struggled with the bat after Gautham Gambhir won the toss and chose to field. Despite a number of players getting starts, none of them were able to carry on to post a significant score which resulted in the team losing wickets at crucial times. Karun Nair was the top scorer for Punjab with 34 and the team’s biggest partnership was between KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal who put on 36 for the second wicket.
Liam Plunkett, who was making his debut, had a fantastic outing for Delhi with the ball. He finished with figures of 3 for 17 in his 4 overs. Avesh Khan and Tent Boult were also good. They picked up 2 wickets each.
In reply, Delhi started off well with Prithvi Shaw scored 22 of his first 9 deliveries but was then dismissed by Ankit Rajpoot off the next ball. From then on, it was a struggle for almost all of the Delhi Batsmen. Rajpoot bowled an uninterrupted 4 over opening spell where he picked up 2 wickets and conceded just 23 runs which included 15 dot balls. Gautham Gambhir continued to struggle as he could only manage 4 runs in 13 balls before being dismissed by Andrew Tye.
Shreyas Iyer was the lone star with the bat as he scored a valiant 57 while the watching the rest of the team struggle throughout. He managed to take the game deep and was aided by Rahul Tewatia who put on a cameo of 24.
With Delhi requiring 17 off the final over, 17-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman was given the high-pressure duty of defending the target. It was a roller-coaster last over and Delhi was left with 5 runs to get off the final ball. Mujeeb was able to hold his nerve and dismissed Iyer off the last ball after hauling out to long-off to give the Kings XI a thrilling victory.
Mujeeb finished with an important 2 for 25 in his 4 overs.
After the game, Ravichandran Ashwin analysed his decision to bowl Mujeeb in the final over. “I decided Mujeeb will be bowling the 20th over. I thought AJ (Tye) was the best bowler on the day. Coach says nothing. If we were serious about winning, this is a game we needed to win. The ball skidded on, more trying to get their wickets. They wanted to attack, which fell in our hands."