An outstanding batting effort from Mayak Agarwal went in vain as it took a Super Over to decide the winner between Delhi and Punjab. After all the hard work, Delhi came out on top in the one-over eliminator.
Punjab had an excellent start after choosing to bowl on an 'unpredictable pitch', having reduced Delhi to 13/3 inside four fours. Captain Shreyas Iyer then combined with Rishabh Pant to steady the ship and as it looked like the effort was going down the drain, Marcus Stoinis played an excellent innings of 53 off 21 balls to put his team right back into the game.
Like Delhi, Punjab too struggled to get a grip with the bat and as everyone returned with their head held down, Mayank Agarwal played his role as a silent vigilante to take Punjab on the touching distance of the victory. Destiny had something else in store as the game went right into the Super Over where Kagiso Rabada waved his magic to end Punjab's classy run in the UAE.
Delhi’s lowest powerplay score in UAE
Both Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw looked out of sorts in front on Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammad Shami, so much so that they had hit a solitary boundary in two overs before Dhawan had to walk back following a disastrous run-out. By the end of three overs, Delhi had posted a mere 8/1, and this is when Shami struck gold. In only his second over, the 30-year-old gave away five runs and scalped two important wickets of Shaw and Shimron Hetmyer, reducing Delhi to 13/3.
|Top bowling spells for Shami in Indian T20 League|
|Match 2, Delhi vs. Punjab, 20 Sept 2020||15||3|
|Match 24, Mumbai vs. Punjab, 10 Apr 2019||21||3|
|Match 55, Punjab vs. Chennai, 05 May 2019||17||2|
|Match 13, Punjab vs. Delhi , 01 Apr 2019||27||2|
|Match 9, Punjab vs. Mumbai, 30 Mar 2019||42||2|
Captain Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant steadied the ship, but could only take their side to 23/3 by the end of the first Powerplay - at a rate of 3.83 - meaning that the team has now posted its lowest tally in the powerplay overs in the UAE, a mere one run less than their previous low of 24/3 they scored against Chennai in April 2014.
Shami registers best bowling figures
Mohammad Shami was key to Punjab’s ascendancy against Delhi. Opening the spell alongside Cottrell, it was he who opened the floodgates. He conceded just one run in his opening over; the same over in which Dhawan was run-out, and his second over was even more fabulous.
The 30-year-old was simply unplayable on the night and even Iyer, who had set a grounding momentum after a calamitous fall early in the game, fell out as a victim, meaning that the paceman ended his day with three wickets for just 15 runs; his best-ever return in the Indian T20 League, surpassing his previous figure of 21/3 against Mumbai in 2019.
It was the first time Shami has ever dismissed Iyer in the Indian Premier League. The two had crossed paths in two innings before Sunday’s game, and the batsman was only able to churn out 11 runs in 13 deliveries at a strike-rate of 84.61. On Sunday, the 25-year-old could only manage a run in five deliveries.
Punjab's run comes to an end
Heading into the fixture, Punjab were rightly tipped as the favourite all because of their previous exploits on the UAE pitches in the 2014 edition of the tournament. The team from Punjab had defeated Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Rajasthan Rajasthan and Kolkata in the Middle East, but couldn't manage to continue the momentum on Sunday as Stoinis was on the front to ruin the party.
|Punjab match results in UAE|
|Team 1||Team 2||Winner||Margin||Ground||Match Date|
|Punjab||RCB||Punjab||5 wickets||Dubai (DSC)||28-Apr-14|
|Chennai||Punjab||Punjab||6 wickets||Abu Dhabi||18-Apr-14|
|Kolkata||Punjab||Punjab||23 runs||Abu Dhabi||26-Apr-14|
|Delhi||Punjab||Delhi||Superover||Dubai (DSC)||Sept 20,2020|
And so, Punjab are no longer the kings of the UAE.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @Indian T20 League