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IPL 2021: Mayank’s 99* in vain as Rabada, Dhawan guide Delhi Capitals to the top

Delhi Capitals 167 for 3 (Dhawan 69*, Shaw 39) beat Punjab Kings 166 for 6 (Agarwal 99*, Rabada 3-36) by seven wickets

The 29th game of IPL 2021 saw yet another Shikhar Dhawan’s special as Delhi Capitals beat Punjab Kings by 7 wickets on Sunday to reach the top of the table. Despite Mayank Agarwal’s 99-run knock, Punjab Kings succumbed to Delhi’s strong batting line-up led by the in-form Shikhar Dhawan.

Punjab would be happy at the end of the first innings after posting a respectable 166-run total, courtesy of a sensational knock from Mayank Agarwal on his IPL captaincy debut. However, it wasn't enough for the Rishabh Pant and Co., who chased it down in just 17.4 overs. Shikhar Dhawan, once again, made a significant contribution in the chase, scoring an unbeaten 69 off 47 balls.

Here’s a look at three major talking points:

Shikhar Dhawan – The man in form

Shikhar Dhawan has been constantly forcing the selectors to make their heads turn towards him. With every innings, he is presenting a case for a potential comeback in India’s T20 side. On Sunday, he played yet another scintillating 69-run knock to guide Delhi to a seven-wicket victory over Punjab Kings.

There is no stopping Dhawan at the moment! Moreover, he is now making sure he stays till the end and finish the game for the side. Dhawan played as a second fiddle till Prithvi Shaw was there at the crease. Shaw played aggressively and gave Delhi the start they needed. He scored 22-ball 39 before going back to the pavilion in the 7th over.

Dhawan knew when and whom to attack and he did that to perfection. He kept taking singles and doubles before unleashing himself in the latter half of the innings. Dhawan slogged Ravi Bishoi for sixes to not allow the spinners to put pressure. Overall, he hit 6 fours and 2 sixes and didn’t allow the required run-rate to go beyond the reach. He didn’t play too aggressively but still managed a strike rate of 146.81, a crucial aspect which he has improved a lot.

Mayank Agarwal’s IPL Captaincy Debut for Punjab Kings

In the absence of KL Rahul who's been diagnosed with acute appendicitis, Mayank Agarwal was handed over the captaincy duties and he grabbed it with both hands. Captaincy brought the best out of Mayank, to say the least. He put his past performances behind and scored a sensational unbeaten 99-run knock to help Punjab reach a respectable total. The 30-year old cricketer didn’t start off too well but ended on a brighter note.

Wickets were falling at one end but Mayank kept his calm at the other end and made sure he stays right till the end. Not getting any support from the other end and yet scoring 99 off just 58 balls speaks volume about the talent he possesses.

In the second innings, he did well in rotating the bowlers but found no support from any bowler to put pressure on the opposition. It will be interesting to see what changes he makes and how the team perform under him in the upcoming games.

Successive failure from Punjab’s middle-order

Nicholas Pooran made way for Dawid Malan on Sunday to strengthen Punjab’s middle order. Malan made a run-a-ball 30 in his debut game in IPL. To put a lot of expectations in his first game would be harsh on the Englishman. Malan was, in fact, the only one who gave some support to Mayank during the middle overs. All the others went back in single digits. Deepak Hooda must be feeling bad about getting run-out. Punjab has a big mystery to resolve, they need to sort out their middle-order woes; else they could soon find themselves out of contentions for the top four.

Questions to be Answered

With Prabhsimran enduring low scores at the top of the order, will he be persisted to open the inning alongside Mayank or we could see a new opening combination in the next game?

All the Punjab bowlers went for plenty of runs. Should Chris Jordan makes way for Richardson in the next game or Punjab continue with the same attack?

What Lies Ahead?

Delhi Capitals have reached the top of the table with 6 wins in 8 games. They would look to continue the winning momentum and assure their position in the top two spots. They face off Kolkata Knight Riders in the next game on Saturday.

Punjab Kings are currently sitting at sixth position with 3 wins in 8 games. They are ought to take every game as a must-win from here and come up with better performances. Though, in the absence of KL Rahul, the team might suffer. They will play against RCB on Thursday.

Records Broken

1. Mayank Agarwal scored his ninth fifty in IPL and also went past 300 runs against DC.

2. Chris Gayle has now more than 500 runs against DC in IPL, becoming the 12th player to reach the feat.

3. Shikhar Dhawan has become the first player this season to reach past the 350-run mark. With that, he has reclaimed the Orange Cap.

4. Rishabh Pant has hit 300 fours in T20s.


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