DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Shikhar Dhawans record-breaking second successive century in the Indian Premier League went in vain as Nicholas Pooran hit a belligerent 53 off 28 balls and lifted Kings XI Punjab to five-wicket win over Delhi Capitals on Tuesday.
Dhawans unbeaten 106 off 61 deliveries made him the first batsman in the 13-year IPL history to notch back-to-back centuries and singlehandedly carried the table-toppers to 164-5.
The left-hander had scored an unbeaten 101 last Saturday against Chennai Super Kings at Sharjah and has been dismissed once in his last four games this season.
Pooran motored Punjab to 167-5 with an over to spare when he smashed six boundaries and three sixes and handed Delhi its first defeat in its five IPL games this season at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Despite defeat, Delhi still sit pretty atop the table with 14 points from 10 games. Punjab, which defeated title-holder Mumbai Indians in a sensational double Super Over on Sunday, has eight points and is in fifth place.
My heart keeps reaching new limits every game but yeah it is nice to finish it in the 19th over for once, Punjab captain Lokesh Rahul said.
Rahul, who is also the tournaments leading run-scorer with 540 runs, went early for 15 but Chris Gayle (29) set up the tempo of the chase by hammering three fours and two sixes in fast bowler Tushar Deshpandes first over. Gayle couldnt last long as he was undone by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and was clean bowled.
Pooran also survived some close calls early in his electrifying knock before hitting six fours and three sixes as Punjab raced to 120-3 in 12 overs. Deshpande returned but eventually conceded 41 runs in two overs as Pooran hit the right-arm seamer for two fours and a six.
The tournaments leading wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada (2-27) claimed two wickets in his return spell as both Pooran and Glenn Maxwell (32) were caught behind before James Neesham raised the victory when he lofted Australian pace bowler Daniel Sams, playing his first IPL game, for a six over mid-wicket.
Earlier, Dhawan anchored Delhi’s innings through his trademark slog sweeps, cuts and pull shots and hit 12 fours and three sixes but rest of the batsmen could add only two more boundaries and two sixes.
Rishabh Pant struggled to score 14 off 20 balls and Marcus Stoinis could score only 9 off 10 deliveries as both hard-hitting batsmen couldnt force the pace either in the middle overs or in the death overs.
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami grabbed 2-28 and conceded only 13 runs in his return spell and removed dangerman Stoinis and Shermon Hetmyer, who could also score only 10 runs.
I feel we fell 10 runs short, conceded Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer, who also went cheaply for 14. Tushar leaked a lot of runs, but this has happened to the best of all, so he will learn a lot from him.
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