Delhi Captains (DC) retained the top spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) standings with a resounding 7-wicket win over Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Ahmedabad on Sunday. With an unbeaten 69, Shikhar Dhawan took over the Orange Cap with KL Rahul missing for Punjab and no timeline on his recovery.
Batting first, Punjab scored 166 thanks to a confident 99 not out from Mayank Agarwal. The stand-in captain led from the front and a smashing final over resulted in a competitive total.
Except, Delhi were never put under any real pressure in their chase. Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw stitched another 50-run stand before Steve Smith joined in to settle things down. In the end, Dhawan remained not out to take Delhi to the top of the standings, leapfrogging Chennai Super Kings.
Earlier in the day, Rajasthan Royals (RR) jumped to fifth spot with a dominant 55-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in New Delhi. Kane Williamson led SRH for the first time this season as the team management dropped former skipper David Warner from the playing XI.
SRH won the toss and put RR to bat, and despite losing Yashasvi Jaiswal early, Jos Buttler (124) and Sanju Samson (48) forged a 150-run stand to take RR to 220/3. This was Buttler's maiden IPL hundred as his stunning 124 came in just 64 balls.
In reply, the RR bowlers, led by Chris Morris (3/29) and Mustafizur Rahman (3/20) never game room for improvement to the opposition as SRH lost wickets at regular intervals. Openers Manish Pandey (31) and Jonny Bairstow (30) were the top scorers as Hyderabad stumbled to 165/8 in 20 overs.
Hyderabad remain at the bottom of the table with just two points, and a playoff spot now looking like a distant dream. Punjab, meanwhile, stay sixth.
The RR-SRH match completed the midway stage of the league phase, with 28 matches being played.
Here's the updated IPL 2021 points table:
Orange Cap holder: DC's Shikhar Dhawan (380 runs)
Purple Cap holder: RCB's Harshal Patel (17 wickets)
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"It suits our style of play, and yes, the bowlers will be under pressure, but that's where you back the bowlers. There will be games where the bowlers will go for runs, but it's important to back your core group of bowlers," Rohit said after the high-scoring match.
The 30-year-old from Bengaluru, who is leading the side in place of regular skipper KL Rahul, slammed a 58-ball 99 to single-handedly take Punjab to 166 for six after losing wickets in a bunch in the middle overs.
Stokes, whose IPL stint with Rajasthan Royals was cut short by a fractured finger, feels that for an enjoyable T20 contest, a score in the range of 160 to 170 is paramount.