Delhi Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan was pretty clear at the toss about why he had opted to bowl. The veteran pacer said, “This looks a good pitch ... It is better to bowl first and know what number you’re chasing.”
The confidence wasn’t misplaced as Delhi this season have quite a few in-from batsmen in their line-up with Quinton de Kock, Chris Morris, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant all having played important innings.
In the end, Daredevils’ fielders and bowlers, however, failed to justify their skipper’s confidence. Kings XI Punjab took full advantage of the visitors’ insipid fielding and lacklustre bowling as Marcus Stoinis and Wriddhiman Saha helped themselves to fifties to help their side set a tough target of 182. Stoinis and Saha added 58 runs for the third wicket to lay the foundation for Punjab’s solid total.
Delhi’s chase began brightly with de Kock scoring a blistering 52 off 30 balls, which laid the foundation for the chase. But once KXIP saw the back of de Kock, the pressure of the chase got the better of Delhi. Karun Nair (23) and Sanju Samson (49) added 51 for the second wicket, but Punjab kept picking wickets at regular intervals. Stoinis was in the thick of action with the ball too as he snared three wickets for 40 runs, accounting for de Kock, Samson and Sam Billings to derail Delhi’s chase.
Earlier, KXIP were given a good start with a partnership of 45 between openers Murali Vijay and Stoinis. Stoinis played second fiddle, letting skipper Vijay take up the scoring. Once Vijay fell after scoring 25 off 16 balls, Saha and Stoinis steadied the ship. Dealing largely in singles with the occasional boundary, Stoinis provided the stability.
Saha took on Amit Mishra, carting the spinner for two hits to the fence in the 15th. In the next over, Saha hit Zaheer Khan for three consecutive boundaries. Glenn Maxwell (16), David Miller (11) and Axar Patel (16) played quick fire knocks later to swell the total. Daredevils bowlers leaked runs and ended up conceding 76 in the last six overs.