Yes, they were the first team to be knocked out of the Play-Offs race, but their job was far from done. During Wednesday's IPL contest, the Delhi Capitals donned the hat of party spoilers as they denied Punjab Kings two crucial points.
IPL 2023 is a most competitive season with a cluster of teams still in the running for the Play-Offs. Following Wednesday's contest, five league matches are left and seven teams are still eligible for the remaining three Play-Off spots.
Playing for pride, Capitals batters finally put their hands up as they evaded an unwanted record. Till match 64 of the ongoing season, Delhi were the only team to have not crossed the 200 mark this IPL and Rilee Rossouw's stellar knock saw the Capitals post a daunting total and join the rest of the pack.
It has been a season of big totals and exciting chases, with the typical ebbs and flows of a T20 game, the PBKS vs DC contest kept changing till the very last over.
The opening stand
One of the biggest concerns for the Delhi franchise this season has been their batting line-up. On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in picturesque Dharamsala, which was hosting an IPL contest after almost a decade, the DC batters found their groove.
The DC openers handed the visitors a strong start, piling on 61 in the Powerplay. Prithvi Shaw, who had several single digit dismissals this IPL, came back into the playing XI and finally found his touch. Though too late to make a difference, the opener's knock brought much needed cheer to DC, who were placed last heading into the game.
Shaw struck his first half-century this year. The 23-year-old batter brought up his 13th IPL fifty off 36 balls. Shaw (54 off 38) and Captain David Warner (46 off 31), who was dropped on 39 by Rahul Chahar, put up 94 for the opening stand partnership off 62 deliveries to put Delhi in the driver's seat early into the contest.
The South African batter hammered his first IPL half-century and he did it in style. Coming in at No. 3, Rossouw took the Punjab bowlers to the cleaners as he lit up the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium.
Striking at a sizzling rate of 221.62, Player-of-the-Match Rossouw hammered an unbeaten 82 off 37, laced with six boundaries and six huge sixes.
Even A B de Villiers, was left in awe. The IPL legend took to social media to say: 'That six from Rilee Rossouw was definitely not 96m... Maybe 196m!'
Rossouw along with Phil Salt guided Delhi to an imposing 213/2.
Dropping a player of Livingstone's calibre is a cardinal sin and Capitals made that mistake. It almost cost them the match as he punished the DC bowlers and lifted Punjab s hopes.
Punjab got off to a disastrous start losing Skipper Shikhar Dhawan for a duck. The boundaries didn't come so effortlessly for the Punjab batters as they posted 47/1 in the powerplay.
Livingstone was handed a lifeline and he made the most of the opportunity. Kuldeep Yadav had two golden opportunities in two overs, first to pick uP Atharva Taide and then Livingstone. But Capitals dropped both! The look on Coach Ricky Ponting's face was one of agony as he saw Punjab regain control.
Dropped on 3 by Anrich Nortje, Livingstone went on to hammer a sizzling 48-ball 94. His knock, laced with five fours and nine sixes, saw the hosts almost take the game away.
But Nortje made amends, bowling two clinical overs AT the death to spoil Punjab's party. Though still mathematically not out of the running for the Play-Offs, the 15-run loss is a big blow to Punjab.