Delhi Capitals beat Gujarat Titans by five runs

Despite the win, Delhi Capitals stayed at the bottom of the points table but they have kept themselves alive in the tournament with three victories in nine matches…reports Asian Lite News

Delhi Capitals overcame Hardik Pandya’s fighting unbeaten fifty (59 not out) and Mohammed Shami’s four-fer (4-11) to beat Gujarat Titans by five runs in Match No. 44 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at Narendra Modi Stadium, here on Tuesday.

Despite the win, Delhi Capitals stayed at the bottom of the points table but they have kept themselves alive in the tournament with three victories in nine matches. On the other hand, Gujarat Titans, who have six wins in nine matches, are at the top of the points table despite the loss.

Seasoned pacer Shami’s sensational four-fer helped Gujarat Titans restrict Delhi Capitals to 130/8 in 20 overs despite a fighting fifty from Aman Hakim Khan (51 off 44). Apart from Shami, Mohit Sharma (2-33) and Rashid Khan (1-28) were the other wicket-takers for Titans while Axar Patel (27 off 30) and Ripal Patel (23 off 13) were the other main contributors with the bat after Aman.

Chasing a low total, Delhi Capitals also had a poor start as they lost three wickets inside the Power-play and scored just 31 runs. It was Khaleel Ahmed, who drew the first blood for Delhi Capitals by getting Wriddhiman Saha caught behind for a duck in the last delivery of the very first over of the innings.

Skipper Hardik Pandya walked into the middle to give company to Shubman Gill, who started well by hitting a boundary off Ishant Sharma. However, Anrich Nortje was introduced in the attack soon and he dismissed Gill, who timed the ball straight to the cover fielder.

Vijay Shankar has been in good form this season and Gujarat had high hopes for him but Ishant bowled a brilliant knuckleball to get rid of the Tamil Nadu batter, leaving Titans in a precarious position at 26-3 after 4.6 overs.

Defending champions Gujarat needed a partnership to rebuild their innings but new man David Miller tried to play a cute paddle sweep off Kuldeep Yadav but was bowled, adding misery to his team’s position.

Gujarat Titans were 32/4 when Miller got out and Hardik was watching his batting partners going back to the pavilion one after another. The skipper needed some support and it came from Abhinav Manohar.

The duo of Hardik and Abhinav played cautiously against spin twins Kuldeep and Axar Patel, who were bowling nicely to keep things in control for Delhi. After bowling a few overs of spin, Warner went back to his pacers and they also bowled well, giving few boundaries here and there as the required run rate was going up with each passing over.

Hardik and Abhinav continued to grind out runs while Warner was bringing in the bowling changes in search of breakthroughs and not letting the batters settle down as Gujarat Titans were 71/4 after 14 overs.

With the required run rate increasingly sharp, Hardik decided to free his arms and got a few boundaries to get his fifty in 44 balls but Abhinav was not able to find boundaries and his struggle was ended by Khaleel Ahmed in the first ball of the 18th over.

Khaleel executed his slower ones and yorkers to perfection and gave just four runs in his over, making things tougher for Gujarat.

Anrich Nortje came to bowl the 19th over with Gujarat needing 33 runs in 12 balls. The pacer conceded just 3 runs in the first three balls but Tewatia had other plans and he hit Nortje for three consecutive sixes, to bring the equation in Gujarat’s favour.

With 12 runs needed off 6 balls for Gujarat to win, experienced Ishant had the big task in hand but he held his nerves well. The pacer gave just three runs in the first three balls with Hardik facing two of them and then removed the dangerous Tewatia in the fourth ball to keep Delhi Capitals in the game.

Rashid Khan scored just 2 runs in the fifth delivery and Ishant finished it well to give one run in the last ball to restrict Gujarat to 125/6 in 20 overs and win it for Delhi.

Earlier, Delhi Capitals won the toss and opted to bat first and were off to a horrific start, losing five wickets inside the Power-play. The horror show started in the very first ball of the innings when Phil Salt toe-ended a swinging delivery bowled by Shami to cover, where David Miller took a simple catch.

Thereafter, confusion between Priyam Garg and David Warner resulted in the Delhi Capitals’ skipper getting run out with Rashid Khan dislodging the bails at the non-striker’s end, on a no-ball. Rilee Rossow, who came into the playing XI for Mitchell Marsh, also couldn’t do much as a classic swing delivery from Shami dismissed the South African batter.

Continuing his sensational show, Shami bowled another beauty to Manish Pandey to remove him with Saha taking a stunning catch behind the wicket. In the last delivery of the same over, the duo once again combined to dismiss Priyam Garg, who failed to negotiate the slightly late movement, leaving Delhi Capitals struggling at 23-5 at the end of 5 overs.

Shami, who was extracting the juice available in the pitch due to wet weather around, had the chance of getting the fifer but Axar Patel and Aman Hakim Khan, negotiated his last over well. However, Shami, who bowled all his four overs on the trot, single-handedly had Delhi on the mat by the end of the seventh over.

From there on, Axar and Aman rebuilt the Delhi innings as they rotated the strike nicely and got the odd boundary and six against the Gujarat bowlers. The pair added a sedate fifty-run stand for the sixth wicket but Mohit Sharma was once again incisive in the middle overs and ended that partnership, by taking the huge wicket of Axar.

Delhi were 73-6 after 14 overs when Axar got out and they needed something miraculous from their lower-order batter to post a competitive total. The likes of Aman Khan and Ripal Patel showed some intent and hit Mohit Sharma and Josh Little for a few timely boundaries and sixes, giving some impetus to the Capitals’ innings.

Aman smashed Mohit for a six to complete his half-century in 41 balls as Delhi looked to get the desired finish. In the penultimate over of the innings, Ripal welcomed Rashid Khan with a six but the leg-spinner removed Aman Khan later in the over with Abhinav Manohar taking a good catch at the deep.

Mohit Sharma dismissed Ripal Patel to get his 100th IPL wicket and bowled an excellent last over to keep Delhi Capitals to 130-8 in 20 overs, which was enough in the end.

Brief scores:

Delhi Capitals 130/8 in 20 overs (Aman Hakim Khan 51, Axar Patel 27; Md Shami 4-11, Mohit Sharma 2-33) beat Gujarat Titans 125/6 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 59 not out, Abhinav Manohar 26; Ishant Sharma 2-23, Khaleel Ahmed 2-24) by 5 runs.

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