Opener Prabhsimran Singh's brilliant maiden IPL century (103 off 65) guided Punjab Kings to a competitive 167/7 against Delhi Capitals in Match No. 59 of season 2023 at Arun Jaitley Stadium, here on Saturday.
Punjab were struggling at 45/3 but Prabhsimran stitched a vital stand of 72 runs off 54 balls for the fourth wicket with Sam Curran to get them out of trouble and put a fighting total on the board. On the other hand, Ishant Sharma was the most successful bowler for Delhi Capitals with his 2-27.
Put in to bat first, Punjab Kings got off to a disastrous start as they lost three key wickets -- Shikhar Dhawan (7), Liam Livingstone (4) and Jitesh Sharma (5) -- inside the Power-play.
Dhawan, who looked in fine touch and smashed a six as well, was the first one to depart, getting out to Ishant Sharma in the second over of the innings. Continuing his impressive swing bowling, Ishant then rattled the stumps of Livingstone, who went for a big heave but missed the ball completely.
Wickets were falling at the other end but Prabhsimran Singh was able to find a few boundaries in between. The right-handed opener hit Axar for a six to deep backward-square in the first ball of the last over of the Power-play but the Indian spinner bowled Jitesh in the same over to leave Punjab Kings 45/3 after 5.2 overs.
From there on, Prabhsimran, who carried his bat through the Power-play and new batter Sam Curran had the responsibility to lead Punjab's recovery. However, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Axar and Praveen Dubey bowled the next few overs with tight line and length to keep Punjab Kings to 66/3 after 10 overs.
With runs not coming easily, Prabhsimran finally decided to free his arms and smashed Mitchell Marsh for two sixes and one four as 21 runs came from that over. After Marsh went for runs, Delhi skipper Warner brought spinners Kuldeep and Axar into the attack and they bowled decent overs to check the flow of boundaries.
However, there were enough opportunities for Prabhsimran to take singles and doubles as he got off to his second IPL fifty in 42 balls. On the other hand, Curran was playing the second fiddle quite well as his stand with Prabhsimran kept the scoreboard ticking for Punjab.
Delhi desperately needed a wicket and it was Praveen Dubey, who brought a much-needed breakthrough for them by getting rid of Curran (20 overs) in the 15th over. Harpreet Brar, who came to bat next, couldn't do much as he got out to Kuldeep Yadav, leaving Punjab at 129-5 after 16.1 overs.
Despite losing partners from the other end, Prabhsimran continued his attacking approach and took Delhi bowlers to the cleaners. The opener slammed Khaleel Ahmed for back-to-back boundaries to get his maiden IPL hundred off 61 balls in the 18th over.
Punjab were dependent on Prabhsimran for a strong finish but Mukesh Kumar dismissed the batter soon after his century and bowled an excellent over to give just three runs. Khaleel too bowled a decent last over to keep Punjab Kings to 167/7 in 20 overs.
Punjab Kings 167/7 in 20 overs (Prabhsimran 103, Sam Curran 20; Ishant 2-27) against Delhi Capitals