After being pushed to the brink, the Delhi Capitals (DC) held their nerve to edge out the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in a heart-stopping Super Over decider to open their IPL campaign on a positive note here on Sunday.
After the 20-over-per innings match was tied at 157 runs, the Super Over was enforced and in the pressure cooker situation, Shreyas Iyer’s Delhi team prevailed at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium.
Bowling first in the Super Over, Delhi’s South African pacer Kagiso Rabada kept his cool to snare two wickets and concede just a couple of runs to KL Rahul’s team.
Chasing, Delhi easily hunted down the three-run target to start their campaign with a thrilling victory.
Earlier, in the match proper, KXIP opener Mayank Agarwal’s heroics (89 off 60) went in vain, as his team failed to overhaul the 158-run target in 20 overs, and the contest entered the Super Over. Mayank’s knock contained seven boundaries and four sixes.
Chasing a moderate 158-run target, Punjab started their proceedings slowly and steadily before Mohit Sharma struck to dismiss Punjab opener Rahul (21 off 19) with their scorecard reading 30/1 in 4.3 overs.
Ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin then joined the party as he scalped two wickets — of Karun Nair (1) and Nicholas Pooran (0) — in the fifth over before Glenn Maxwell (1) became the victim of Kagiso Rabada in the very next over.
While wickets kept falling at the one end, Mayank kept the scorecard ticking and with little support from Sarfaraz Khan (12) and Krishnappa Gowtham (20), took his side past the three-digit mark in 15.1 overs.
After Gowtham’s departure in the 16th over, Mayank fought a lone battle and almost pulled an emphatic win for his side before Man-of-the-Match Marcus Stoinis struck at a time when it mattered the most. He sent back a dangerous-looking Mayank off the second last ball of the 20th and final over.
With just one run needed off the final delivery, Stoinis claimed the wicket of Chris Jordan (5) to take the match into the Super Over.
For Delhi, Stoinis, Rabada and Ashwin, who suffered a shoulder injury and left the field after his first over, picked two wickets each.
Earlier, Delhi Capitals rode a fantastic cameo by Stoinis (53 off 21 balls) to post 157/8 in the allotted 20 overs even as Punjab pacer Mohammed Shami starred with the ball, picking three wickets for just 15 runs.
Asked to bat, Delhi had a worst possible start as they lost three wickets in quick succession and that saw the Shreyas Iyer-led side being reduced to 13/3 in the first four overs.
While Shami accounted for the wicket of opener Prithvi Shaw (5) and Shimron Hetmyer (7), a little confusion while stealing a run cost the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan, who returned to the pavilion without troubling the scorers.
Rishabh Pant (31 off 29) and skipper Iyer (39 off 32) then tried to repair the damage after forging a 73-run partnership for the fourth wicket and prevented the Punjab bowlers making any further inroads.
The duo, however, succumbed while trying to accelerate the run-rate as Ravi Bishnoi scalped his maiden IPL wicket when he got rid of Pant.
Things one again worsened for Delhi as a settled Iyer also departed soon, thanks to some quality bowling by Shami.
Just when it looked as if Punjab were regaining control of the contest, Stoinis came as a nightmare for the KXIP bowlers, clobbering most of them all round the park. The Aussie batter hammered Chris Jordan for 24 runs in the final over before departing.
The 31-year-old’s explosive batting ensured his side posted a fighting total. His knock was laced with seven boundaries and three huge hits that sent the ball into the stands. Sheldon Cottrell picked two wickets for 24 runs.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 157/8 (20 overs) & 3/0 off 3 balls in Super Over beat Kings XI Punjab 157/8 (20 overs) & 2/2 off 3 balls in Super Over