The Delhi Capitals were on song in their penultimate IPL 2023 match against the Punjab Kings, winning by 15 runs at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Wednesday night.
Rilee Rossouw put on a masterclass with the bat by scoring 82 runs off just 37 deliveries (6×4, 6×6) en route to DC putting up a total of 213 runs.
PBKS’s run chase was catapulted by Liam Livingstone’s 94-run knock (48b, 5×4, 9×6) that stretched the match to its final overs. Ultimately PBKS fell short and their chances for playoff qualification look extremely slim.
JioCinema IPL expert Pragyan Ojha wondered where this version of the Capitals was at the start of the season, saying: “Coach and mentors will be asking where these Delhi Capitals were. The way they batted, the way Prithvi Shaw did it, the way David Warner did, and later when Rilee Roussow did it. I think, from what I see, when the pressure was on, they were playing differently. Now that the pressure is off and they’re not in the race in the tournament, we’ve gotten a chance to see different kind of batting from them.”
PBKS couldn’t control the run-flow, as the Delhi batters punished them. The decision to use Harpreet Brar for a costly 23-run final over was questioned by Aakash Chopra.
He said: “If you were to ask Rilee Roussow what he wants on Christmas as a gift, he’d tell you, ‘I want a left-arm spinner to bowl the 20th over in a game when I already have 80 runs’. He got that exactly. There’s a problem here. If you’re a spinner — Harpreet Brar had bowled two overs before this — he was trying to bowl yorkers there. If he’s trying to bowl yorkers and the batter decides he’ll run forward, the ball doesn’t have the pace to change it from a yorker. You know a fast bowler is bowling a yorker, as (Liam) Livingston saw with Mukesh (Kumar) and Khaleel (Ahmed), he didn’t move from his spot because you can’t reach the spot if you step out. With a left-arm spinner bowling, he wasn’t stepping out, he was running out.”
Chopra also praised PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan for taking responsibility for the tactical errors in bowling but also criticised the mismanagement of Arshdeep Singh. “Everybody makes mistakes and I give it to Shikhar (Dhawan), we’ve all made mistakes. It’s easy to talk about cricket, but to own up to a mistake is admirable. They haven’t used Arshdeep properly in the last five games. Such a big player, in the race for the Purple Cap. You don’t give him the new ball or the old ball. He’s an Indian World Cup-calibre bowler that can hit Babar Azam on the pads. You’ve cut his height down and that is far more disappointing for me that you gave the final over to Harpreet Brar.”