IPL 2020: Mayank Agarwal’s knock in vain, Delhi Capitals beat KXIP in Super Over
IPL 2020: Indian Premier League had not been a great ally though as Shami has cut a peripheral figure with 21 wickets from six seasons while fitness issues in particular had plagued the bowler.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 23:54 IST
Mohammed Shami is proof that if you are really good at your craft, there is no need to reinvent the game every time to fit the format. The India pace bowler has demonstrated that through his career.
Indian Premier League had not been a great ally though as Shami has cut a peripheral figure with 21 wickets from six seasons while fitness issues in particular had plagued the bowler. All that changed last season after he was bought for R4.8 crore by Kings XI Punjab. Shami finished as the highest wicket-taker for the team with 19 scalps from 14 games.
On Sunday, Shami once again showed his class. There had been video clips of his training in his backyard during the lockdown, and the famed rhythm of the bowler was there to see. The result was KXIP rattling Delhi Capitals in their first game of IPL 13 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The stadium was empty, but figuratively it was silenced after talk of pacers biting the dust of the UAE pitches. Shami ensured that with an astonishing 3/15, his best spell in IPL. Opener Mayank Agarwal dug in to hit a 60-ball 89, only for Delhi Capitals to take wickets off the last two balls to tie the game and force a Super Over.
In the Super Over, DC fast bowler Kagiso Rabada struck twice off successive balls to end KXIP’s innings in three deliveries. Capitals scored the three runs, winning with three balls to spare.
Many players had a point to prove. KL Rahul, in his first IPL game as skipper was up against Shreyas Iyer’s leadership with the Rishabh Pant comparisons not far away. In the end, it was a game decided by impetuous hitting by batsmen on both sides on a pitch that called for patience and focus on shot-selection, making it a topsy-turvy affair.
KL Rahul elected to bowl and Chris Gayle, the man made for T20 cricket but a day short of his 41st birthday was left out with younger batsmen, and sharper fielders, preferred.
Shami was sharp, and found the DC top-order obliging. He got Shikhar Dhawan to nick, and though Rahul grassed it, the batsman was run out going for a non-existent single. On a pitch where the ball gripped a bit, Shami used the short ball to telling effect. Prithvi Shaw and Shimron Hetmyer both tried to hit out and Capitals were down to 13/3.
Rishabh Pant and skipper Shreyas Iyer prevented a washout, but fell trying to push the score. Off-spinner K Gowtham leaked runs, but young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi was impressive and sneaked through Pant’s defence. Shami returned for his final over and got Shreyas caught first ball mistiming a slower delivery.
The platform had been set and Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis cashed in. Coming from the limited-overs series in England, he showed his touch. Stoinis came in to bat in the 15th over and blasted 53 off 21 balls, taking 30 runs off Chris Jordan’s tame last over. DC had shelled out R4.8 crore for Stoinis in the last auctions, and he underlined his value.
DC left out Ajinkya Rahane. R Ashwin though was given the chance to have a go at the team he captained in 2019. Nothing gives Ashwin—he plays only Tests now--more satisfaction than making a point in T20 cricket.
Rahul’s weakness against the in-coming ball was exposed by Mohit Sharma’s seaming delivery before Ashwin got Karun Nair caught and Nicholas Pooran bowled with a beauty in his first over. But Ashwin’s IPL looked over after he dislocated his shoulder trying a diving stop off his bowling.
KXIP too struggled to cross 50 at the halfway point with power-hitters Glenn Maxwell and Sarfaraz Khan too gone. Mayank Agarwal, now set, took over with DC having to make up for Ashwin’s three overs as well. Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas dropped running catches off him before he was out with one run to get off the last ball.