Liam Plunkett ended with 3 for _ © AFP
Liam Plunkett ended with 3 for 17 © AFP

Delhi Daredevils (DD) haven’t been below par in ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 but still find themselves at the bottom of the points table. Playing their first home game of the season, versus Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), a combined bowling effort, led by Liam Plunkett, restricted KXIP to 143 for 8. Plunkett, Avesh Khan and Trent Boult kept a tall batting lineup under check. Chris Gayle’s absence added to KXIP’s woes.

Electing to bowl first, Gautam Gambhir-led DD must have been relived to see KL Rahul walking out to the park without Gayle. The Universe Boss missed out of action due to niggle. Rahul started off impressively, and was again in his elements. However, he lost Aaron Finch early. It was another failure for the Australian. Rahul (23) fell against the run of play to a well deceived slower ball on a shorter length delivery. Avesh, after dismissing Finch, took a clean diving catch forward at short fine leg.

KXIP have been in top form courtesy Gayle’s prowess and Rahul’s proper cricketing shots. They felt the heat with one’s absence and the other’s early departure. Plunkett delivered once again, and rattled Mayank Agarwal with extra pace. As a result, KXIP posted only 68, for 3, in 10 overs.

Yuvraj Singh’s uninspiring 17-ball 14 didn’t help one bit. DD, who fielded well till then, suddenly became sloppy and dropped two sitters off David Miller. Run-scoring, however, continued to be difficult courtesy Plunkett’s slower balls and timely variations. He got rid of Karun Nair before ending with 3 for 17. Boult’s excellent last-over helped him to the Purple Cap.

KXIP will be tested to defend a moderate 144. DD, on the other hand, haven’t made Ferozshah Kotla their fortress yet, but will be adamant to change their fortunes in the season with a win tonight.

Brief scores

Kings XI Punjab 143 for 8 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 23, Mayank Agarwal 21, Karun Nair 34; Liam Plunkett 3 for 17, Trent Boult 2 for 21, Avesh Khan 2 for 36, Daniel Christian 1 for 17) vs Delhi Daredevils