Quinton de Kock's 52-ball 80 helps Lucknow to tense 6-wicket win over Delhi Capitals on tricky pitch
Quinton de Kock made it look easy on a difficult wicket for the batsmen. The South African scored a flamboyant 80 (off 52b; 9x4, 2x6) to lead IPL newbies Lucknow Super Giants to a six-wicket win against Delhi Capitals at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Thursday.
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The dew surely helped negate some of the problems the batters were facing with regards to their timing, but de Kock made sure he was there at the crease to take advantage. With 150 to chase, he added 73 for the opening wicket with LSG skipper KL Rahul to lay the platform for the win; and by the time he was dismissed Lucknow required 28 runs off four overs.
The Super Giants nearly made a hash of the chase, but young gun Ayush Badoni (10 not out off 3b; 1x4, 1x6) did his quickly-growing reputation of being a finisher no harm with a boundary and a six in the 20th over to seal the deal.
Earlier, it was a peculiar innings from Delhi Capitals. At the top, Prithvi Shaw batted like he was giving an exhibition of his repertoire on the flattest wicket of the world. But, as soon as he got out, the other DC batters found it excruciatingly difficult to even rotate the strike.
Sample this, Shaw (61 off 34b; 9x4, 2x6) was involved in a 67-run opening wicket partnership with David Warner out of which the Aussie star's contribution was just four. And, Warner scored those four off 12 deliveries. After Warner, big-hitting West Indian Rovman Powell was simply unable to get the ball off the square. Powell managed 3 off 10 balls.
Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant also found the going tough initially. At one point, Pant was batting at 6 off 17 balls - a strike-rate of 35.2 that is rarely associated with a free-stroking batsman like Pant.
It was the 16th over that saw Pant find his mojo. He smacked Andrew Tye for a boundary and two maximums to collect 18 runs from the over and get Delhi back on track. DC had slowed down so much that the run-rate of the innings had come down from 8.66 after the Powerplay to 6.42 at the end of the 14th over.
Pant (39 not out off 36b; 3x4, 2x6) did get a couple more boundaries in the end overs and was involved in an unbroken 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket with his teammate from the U-19 days - Sarfaraz Khan. Sarfaraz (36 not out off 28b; 3x4) did start on a sprightly note with a reverse swept boundary off Ravi Bishnoi's bowling, but couldn't get the big hits going in the slog overs.
Once the Powerplay ended, the LSG spinning trio of Bishnoi, Krishnappa Gowtham and Krunal Pandya just did not allow the DC batters to break free. Bishnoi bowled his quota of four overs and returned with figures of 2/22. Gowtham, in fact, bowled a maiden over to Pant and finished with 1/23 from his four.
Jason Holder was absolutely sensational at the death. Bowling the difficult 18th and 20th overs, he gave away just 6 and 7 runs in the two even when Pant and Khan were swinging to the moon. The two batsmen were unable to comprehend when he was going to bowl his yorkers, slower off-cutters or the slower bouncers, and Holder mixed them brilliantly.
At the start, Shaw was batting like a Japanese train. He was on overdrive from the start and reserved some special treatment for Holder and Avesh Khan. Shaw collected 14 runs from Holder's second over and then followed it with a 13-run over off Khan. The DC innings was going full throttle before it hit a speed breaker.