IPL 2018: Kings XI Punjab's Mujeeb Ur Rahman keeps his cool in final over to secure win over Delhi Daredevils

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Mujeeb picked up two important wickets in Delhi. Image: BCCI.

Kings XI Punjab prevailed in yet another final-over thriller in the IPL as they beat Delhi Daredevils by four runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday.

Punjab batted first and struggled to reach 143 for eight in their 20 overs with Karun Nair’s 34 the highest total. Delhi’s England recruit Liam Plunkett had a dream start to his IPL, finishing with 3-17 and seemed to have done enough for a win.

In the chase, Daredevils batsman Shreyas Iyer (57) kept things together but with 17 needed from the last over bowled by Afghanistan’s teen sensation Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-25), failed to take his team past the finish line.

Here are the talking points from Punjab’s superb win in Delhi that took them to the top of the table.

AVESH KHAN RATTLES PUNJAB

Delhi quick Avesh Khan made a spectacular start to his IPL campaign. He bowled with serious pace in the opening over, getting the wicket of Punjab’s Aussie opener Aaron Finch with a ball clocked at 148.7 kph (92mph). The short of length ball hurried onto the batsman who mistimed a pull to cover.

Avesh returned to dismiss Punjab star Yuvraj Singh, with the batsman late on his deliveries. Khan consistently bowled at or above 90mph and hurried every batsman with his pace and bounce. Surely, India selectors have taken note.

DREAM DEBUT FOR PLUNKETT

Plunkett took 3-17 from his four overs. Image: BCCI.

Plunkett took 3-17 from his four overs. Image: BCCI.

England pacer Plunkett was playing his first competitive match since February, having just recovered from a hamstring injury. He was a late replacement for the injured Kagiso Rabada and on Monday showed he can be as valuable.

Plunkett made maximum use of the pace on offer in the Delhi wicket. He burst through the defence of Mayank Agarwal with a ball bowled at 146kph. Well-disguised slower deliveries accounted for KL Rahul and Nair as Plunkett finished with 3-17 from his four.

SHAW IN A HURRY

Delhi opener and India’s U19 World Cup winning captain Prithvi Shaw only had one thought in his mind – attack. He threw his bat at almost every delivery and was lucky to get a couple of boundaries through the edge of his bat.

His mode of dismissal – bowled by Ankit Rajpoot playing a strange-looking pull off the front foot – doesn’t reflect too well on his abilities. Shaw is one of the finest young batsmen to emerge from India’s domestic cricket but the pressure of IPL makes the best do strange things.

REDEMPTION FOR MUJEEB

Punjab’s Afghan spinner Mujeeb had put himself under pressure in the field, letting the ball run through his legs at point for a boundary in the seventh over during Delhi’s chase. But he redeemed himself by comprehensively bowling dangerman Rishabh Pant first ball.

Then bowling the final over, Mujeeb showed immense composure while defending 17. With set batsman Iyer at the crease, Mujeeb kept his cool despite his second ball being deposited for a six. Five were needed from the final ball and Mujeeb bowled a leg-cutter to have Iyer caught at deep cover. Game, set and match.

AMAZING ASHWIN

Punjab captain and spinner Ravi Ashwin did not take any wickets but his spell was worth its weight in gold. The premier spinner stuck mainly to off-spinners in Delhi on Monday and finished with excellent figures of 0-19.

An economy of less than five while defending 144 is an amazing effort and Ashwin deserves full marks for it. Maybe the subtle warning sent to him by unnamed people in the Indian management through a report in a daily, putting his Test position under the scanner for switching to leg-spin, has worked.

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IPL 2018: Gautam Gambhir in awe of Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers' 'mad' hitting talent

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Gambhir believes there is a method to ABD's madness. Image - IPL/Twitter.

That Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers are geniuses of the T20 game is well known. Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir knows it all too well himself with his team being on the receiving end of a mauling from the latter in their defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL clash on Saturday.

Writing for his column in the Times of India, the Daredevils skipper commented: “On current form Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers can even help us decoding GST (General Service Tax) and its implications. Or, convince the North Korean president from removing that button from that desk.

“Such was their genius on Saturday that it seemed they were the ones setting fields, then telling bowlers what and where to bowl and finally hit the ball as if ordering a drink. In Delhi Daredevils’ case my inference was that on Saturday we lost the game to De Villiers and not Royal Challengers Bangalore.”

De Villiers had played a blinder of an innings in Bangalore’s win with the South African ace smashing five sixes and 10 boundaries during his stay at the crease. Having seen first-hand the destruction De Villiers can cause, Gambhir believes that there is a method to the Proteas stalwart’s unbelievable hitting of the cricket ball.

“From the outside it may seem mad hitting, but if you look closely, you can spot a method too. When he first came in De Villiers attacked Shahbaz Nadeem with slog-sweeps. To fast bowlers, he’d jump outside the off stump, form a strong base and hit it anywhere between extra-cover to fine leg. All this with a head so still that you can place a cup of tea on it and go to a toilet. Such was the De Villiers magic that he paled off outstanding knocks by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer,” the 36-year-old wrote in his column.

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IPL 2018: Chris Gayle's century, Jofra Archer's yorkers and Trent Boult's catch part of our weekly round-up

Ashish Peter 23/04/2018
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Gayle's sixth IPL ton stood out in week two. Image - IPL/Twitter.

There has been no dearth of entertainment as the 2018 edition of the IPL veers towards the half-way stage. There have been plenty of last-over thrillers so far.

After an exciting opening match week, fans have been treated to another week of swashbuckling cricket with the league table shaping up nicely.

Here, we take a look at the best performances of the past week in the IPL.

BEST BATTING

CHRIS GAYLE – 104*(63)

KINGS XI PUNJAB V SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

The week belonged to Chris Gayle and Kings XI Punjab. The Jamaican lit up the tournament with three sensational knocks for his new franchise after not being picked for the initial matches for his new franchise.

Gayle’s unbeaten century against Sunrisers Hyderabad takes the cake for the simple fact that it came against the most decorated bowling unit in the tournament.

The 38-year-old smashed a staggering 11 sixes in the knock, which is the most by any batsman in this year’s competition. The ease with which Gayle destroyed Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, smashing him for four sixes in an over, was breathtaking.

BEST BOWLING

JOFRA ARCHER – 3/22

RAJASTHAN ROYALS V MUMBAI INDIANS

The most sought after uncapped cricketer in the T20 format, Jofra Archer had been missing from the IPL due to an injury until Sunday. The West Indies-born all-rounder however wasted no time in showing why the Royals shelled out the big bucks for him in the auction with a man-of-the-match performance on his debut.

Mumbai Indians were cruising at 130-1 after 14 overs before Archer turned the game on its head with an exceptional spell of T20 bowling. Mixing up fast yorkers at 149 kmph along with slower balls, the 23-year-old showed his complete range of tricks as the defending champions could only muster 167-7 in their over 20 overs after it had looked like they would cross 200 .

That sublime death bowling proved to be the difference as the Royals scripted a three-wicket win with two balls to spare.

BEST CATCH

TRENT BOULT

DELHI DAREDEVILS V ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Trent Boult might not have lit up the IPL with his bowling so far but he has taken the catch of the tournament. The Blackcaps pacer’s one-handed stunner on the boundary ropes to dismiss Virat Kohli will be shown on IPL highlights reels for years to come.

Fielding at deep square-leg, Boult leapt high in the air to catch the ball one-handed with his weaker arm before showing extraordinary awareness to avoid touching boundary ropes.

Kohli himself summed it up best when he said: “I was stunned when he took it, that’s a brilliant catch. It happens in the IPL especially. Good to see. That’s a catch when you look back, you don’t feel bad about getting out.”

SURPRISE

KRISHNAPPA GOWTHAM

RAJASTHAN ROYALS V MUMBAI INDIANS

Rohit Sharma’s face as Krishnappa Gowtham struck the winning six for Rajasthan Royals against the Mumbai Indians on Sunday said it all. The defending champions had all but sealed a second win after reducing the hosts to 125-6 in their chase of 168.

With all of Rajasthan’s big hitters back in the pavilion, Gowtham came out of nowhere to script an improbable win. The all-rounder struck two sixes and four boundaries in an 11-ball unbeaten stay at the crease which fetched 33 runs.

That the 29-year had previously been a part of the Mumbai franchise without playing a single game will rub more salt into the wounds of Rohit’s men.

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