Kings XI Punjab defeated Delhi Capitals by 5 wickets on Tuesday’s night at the Dubai International Stadium.
Shikhar Dhawan became the first player in IPL history to score back to back tons with his fantastic knock of 106 (off 61 balls; 4×12, 6×3).
Winning the toss and selecting to bat first, Dhawan’s century powered the Delhi Capitals to a competitive 164/5. The southpaw, who had scored 101* against CSK in his last game, looked in magnificent touch right from the onset – utilising the powerplay to hit the bowlers over the top and then playing along the ground in the middle overs without taking any unnecessary risk.
While Dhawan kept scoring from one end, no other batsmen could emulate him from the other. Prithvi Shaw’s dismal run with the bat continued as he was dismissed just for 7.
Shreyas Iyer and both Rishabh Pant flattered to deceive and fell cheaply even as Dhawan took all bowlers to the cleaners from the other end.
On a difficult slow track at Dubai, Dhawan took on the Kings XI spinners, castling them across the desert with his slog sweeps being the highlight of the day. In the middle of his innings, he also became the fifth batsman in IPL history to reach the 5000-run mark.
He reached his century in the penultimate over with a single against Arshdeep Singh. Dhawan carried his bat and almost single-handedly powered his side to 164/5.
Chasing the total, Orange Cap holder KL Rahul fell early to Axar Patel to give the advantage to the Capitals. Chris Gayle (29 off 13 balls) then hammered Tushar Deshpande for 26 runs in his opening over before being bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin.
In the same over, Mayank Agarwal was run-out after a terrible mix-up with Nicholas Pooran left him stranded in the middle of the pitch and he couldn’t get back in time. Agarwal also injured himself in the process and hobbled off the field.
After the two quick wickets fell in the sixth over, Pooran and Glenn Maxwell joined forces at the crease, stitching a rapid 69-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Pooran scored a rapid-fire fifty (53 off 28 balls; 4×6, 6×3) and launched a fine counter-attack for Kings XI after they had lost both Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in the same over.
What Pooran did well was to ensure that KXIP kept scoring the boundaries and he never for once, let the run-rate drop.
He targeted the inexperienced Deshpande, scoring 15 runs against him and then racked-up 14 runs from the only over bowled by Marcus Stoinis.
Rabada removed both Pooran and Maxwell but it was too late. With just 17 needed from the last four overs, Deepak Hooda and Jimmy Neesham took their side to an emphatic victory with an over to spare.
Kings XI Punjab have thus beaten the top three teams in the points table in three consecutive matches and have now leapfrogged to the fifth position in the points table.