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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

IPL Turning Point: Shardul, Axar, Kuldeep trigger Punjab meltdown (Ajitweekly News Review)

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In the earlier clash between these two teams at Brabourne Stadium, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Lalit Yadav combined to leave Punjab in a spin, picking 6/45 overall in 10 overs at a run rate of 4.50 to be out for a paltry score of 115, which unsurprisingly was chased down by Delhi in 10.3 overs.

Now, on a slow pitch which gave some assistance to spinners at the DY Patil Stadium, Liam Livingstone had rocked Delhi with his away-going deliveries and variations to pick 3/27. While chasing 160, one would have expected Livingstone to lead the chase due to having bowled previously on the pitch. But it just didn’t happen.

Before the strangulation by spin came from Axar and Kuldeep, Shardul Thakur had opened the floodgates with a double-wicket strike of Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Shikhar Dhawan in the final over of powerplay. While Rajapaksa’s cross-bat swipe went to backward point, Dhawan was cramped for room, giving a healthy edge behind to Pant.

"I think the sixth over was the big over where I got two wickets. They were cruising and we saw in both innings, the powerplay was a big one. Fast bowlers were going for runs. And as soon as the powerplay ended, suddenly the runs stopped. So, getting two wickets in the sixth over was very crucial, and after that the spinners came on for us and did the job pretty well," were Thakur’s words after the match.

Post Thakur’s double strike, Axar took over and got Mayank Agarwal out with a length ball around off-stump skidding in to bowl him through the gate. Livingstone kept quiet before dancing down the pitch to dispatch Kuldeep over long-on. But he completely missed the googly and was easily stumped by Pant. Co-incidentally, both of his dismissals against Delhi have been via stumpings.

Kuldeep’s wrong’un beat Harpreet Brar’s inside edge on defence to bowl him through the gate while Rishi Dhawan missed his sweep on an arm-ball from Axar and the ball straightened after pitching to hit top of off-stump, leaving Punjab at 82/7 in 13 overs.

Though Jitesh Sharma fought hard with his 44 and Rahul Chahar brought out the long handle, it was inadequate for Punjab to cover over the insipid show against the Delhi spinners, who had overall figures of 4/34 in eight overs at a run rate of 4.25.

"We didn’t bat well. Between overs 5 and 10, we lost too many wickets and that’s where we lost the game. I thought it was definitely chaseable for the batting we have and the wicket wasn’t as bad as it seemed. We just lost too many wickets between the fifth and 10th over and lost the game there," was Agarwal’s realistic assessment of where Punjab went wrong.

Clearly, losing five wickets within 14 runs in the five-ten over phase proved to be back breaking for Punjab while bringing immense joy to the Delhi camp.

<br>–Ajitweekly News

nr/akm

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