Punjab humiliate Delhi by 10 wickets
Mohali, April 30 (IANS): Kings XI Punjab dominated with both bat and ball to thrash a rather off-colour Delhi Daredevils by 10 wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Sunday.
Medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma played a starring role for Punjab, returning figures of 4/20 to bag the Man of the Match award as Delhi were bundled out for a mere 67 runs at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here.
Delhi’s total was the second lowest in this year’s IPL after Royal Challengers Bangalore were dismissed for 49 during their 82-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens last week.
Needing only 68 runs for a win, Punjab crossed the line in just 7.5 overs with New Zealand star Martin Guptill smashing a half-century in double quick time.
Guptill remained unbeaten on 50 off 27 balls with six boundaries and three sixes. Fellow opener Hashim Amla was not out on 16 at the other end.
Punjab, who thus registered the third win of their campaign, are now fifth on the IPL table with eight points.
They have not exactly set the field on fire in this edition, losing six of their nine matches and Sunday’s performance will no doubt be one of the highlights of their season.
Delhi are at the bottom of the eight-team table with just four points from eight matches.
Although they have one of the strongest bowling line-ups in the IPL, Delhi have paid the price for consistently unimpressive batting performances which have proved to be their Achilles heel.
They have won just two matches so far this year and have suffered six defeats.
Earlier, Punjab captain Glenn Maxwell won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first.
With the pitch having an extra bit of moisture due a spell of rain here on Saturday, the Punjab bowlers made full use of the favourable conditions.
Sandeep made an excellent comeback to the playing XI after being dropped in the last match. The right-armer produced superb swing and movement off the pitch to trouble the off-colour Delhi batting line-up.
The 23-year-old clinched three wickets in his first three overs to put the hosts in the driving seat.
Fast bowler Varun Aaron and left-arm spinner Axar Patel picked up a couple of wickets each for Punjab.
Delhi lost their first wicket in the opening over when comeback man Sam Billings offered an outside edge to an outswinger from Sandeep for an easy catch to Punjab wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Delhi were off to a slow start and got their first boundary in the third over when Sanju Samson dispatched a Sandeep delivery to the wide mid-off fence.
The Punjab pacer got his revenge a ball later when Sanju tried to flick one off his pads to the mid-wicket region. But the ball did not swing as much as he had expected, and taking the toe of the bat ballooned up for a simple catch to Rohit Sharma at mid-off.
Sandeep picked up his third wicket in his next over with an excellent caught and bowled effort to send Shreyas Iyer back to the pavilion. Iyer had attempted to drive the ball past the bowler but was outfoxed by the lack of pace.
Delhi continued to struggle and Patel picked up a wicket when Karun Nair misjudged the line of the ball only to see it crash into his off-stump.
Rishabh Pant was then trapped leg before by Glenn Maxwell and Patel claimed his second victim in the form of Chris Morris as Delhi lost their entire top and middle order within the first nine overs.