T20 2018: Gautam Gambhir's Delhi bow to Punjabs' rule
Punjab beat Delhi by four runs to top points table
Punjab players celebrate a Delhi wicket at the Kotla yesterday. Pic/PTI
It was supposed to be a happy homecoming for Delhi after losing four of their five away games. Playing their first home game, languishing at the bottom of the points table, they made as many as five changes against Punjab, who were without an injured Chris Gayle. It was a stage set for the home team to make the most of the situation. But it was not to be.
Making the most of the absence of the in-form Jamaican, Delhi did well to restrict Punjab to just 143 for eight after inserting them. But the Delhi batsmen faltered in the chase of the not-too-formidable target as they batted like millionaires and gifted away their wickets to reckless strokes. Shreyas Iyer single-handedly tried his best till the end, but failed by four runs to take the team across the line.
It was to the credit of Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, who marshalled his resources well to ensure that his team went to the top of the table with fifth win in six games. For Delhi, it was a continuation of their wretched form and luck as they suffered fifth reverse in six starts, more importantly losing a home game which they should have won hands down.
The win ensured Punjab top the T20 2018 table with 10 points from six matches. After Delhi decided to bowl first, they reaped rich dividends by making wholesale changes in their bowling line-up. Liam Plunkett, made an impressive T20 2018 debut, while young Avesh Khan, an Indian Under-19 pacer was most impressive with his pace and variations on a slow pitch. Dan Christian too was effective with the ball.
The three along with Trent Boult made Punjab batting look inadequate in the absence of Gayle. Besides Gayle, the duo of KL Rahul and Karun Nair has been the mainstays of the Punjab batting. But once Rahul fell to Plunkett, the innings went into a steep decline and the subsequent batsmen just could not force the pace. But in the end, even a total of 143 proved too much for the home team.
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These cricketers were banned for match-fixing