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Cricket news - Stoinis trumps Agarwal as Delhi Capitals clinch Super Over thriller

Marcus Stoinis defended 12 off the final over to force a Super Over, which DC won.

Marcus Stoinis defended 12 off the final over to force a Super Over, which DC won.

A game of stunning cameos and see-sawing fortunes came down to a contentious short-run call at the fag end of KXIP's chase that led to the first Super Over of IPL 2020. It may have been but a footnote had Punjab prevailed, but the KL Rahul-led team posted the lowest Super Over score in IPL history - 2 - and Delhi Capitals coasted to a serene win in a wild, wild game.

Marcus Stoinis and R Ashwin's memorable debuts for the Capitals nearly went in vain as Mayank Agarwal led a stunning counter. But with twin strikes off the final two deliveries - when the scores were levelled - Stoinis led Delhi's comeback for the second time in the game to force a Super Over, which unfolded rather underwhelmingly.

Punjab had most things going their way - Mohammed Shami was exceptional with the new ball and debutant Ravi Bishnoi was equally good with his choke game in the middle overs. But their death bowling went haywire. Stoinis made merry and left them with a tough 158 to chase. A top-order collapse considerably dented KXIP's chances up front, but Agarwal changed the script almost single-handedly with his 60-ball 89.

The eventful Shami spell

Shikhar Dhawan got a reprieve early but didn't get even a second to breathe a sigh of relief. Having grassed a catch, the KXIP captain showed quick presence of mind to relay a throw to K Gowtham and have a stranded Dhawan run-out.

Rahul then went up in a loud appeal, and even celebration, assuming he'd caught the edge off Shimron Hetmyer off the first ball. The southpaw, however, had missed it by a mile. He could have been dismissed for a second-ball duck too, but Gowtham couldn't hold on to his catch, running backwards. Prithvi Shaw then attempted a half-hearted pull off a wide of off delivery, and spooned it straight for a waiting Chris Jordan at mid-on. Two balls and a boundary later, Hetmyer was on his way back too, offering a leading edge to Agarwal in the covers. After 2/3rds of their powerplay, DC were tottering at 13/3.

The Pant-Iyer stand

It was slow by T20 standards, but got the job done for the Capitals. When the need of the hour was to put their head down and work for every run, the two experienced Delhi batsmen joined hands for a fifty-plus partnership. As the partnership progressed, Iyer took a liking to Gowtham and slammed him for three sixes. Pant took the cue and went after Bishnoi, sweeping him over his head for a boundary down the ground.

Happy ending then?

No. Bishnoi had managed to keep Pant under check consistently, and made a strong comeback right after that boundary to get him out with a wrong'un. Pant inside-edged an attempted slog-sweep on to his stumps to give Bishnoi his maiden IPL wicket. Rahul brought back Shami to try his luck and pick another wicket in quick succession to great effort. The well-set Iyer wanted to clear the mid-off, but miscued it straight to Jordan. Sheldon Cottrell too struck off his first ball in death overs, taking Axar Patel out of the equation. If it wasn't for that Stoinis cameo -- or Cotrell and Jordan's over full of freebies - DC would've ended somewhere in the vicinity of a 120 at best.

Stoinis cameo, you said?

A game-changingcameo, if you will. A generous dose of full tosses and ill-directed short balls from Cotrell saw Stoinis cruise to a 20-ball half-century, scoring 49 off DC's 57 runs in the final three. Jordan only helped him further by offering everything in the slot for the Australian, who slammed a hat-trick of boundaries sandwiched between two sixes to eventually finish with a 21-ball 53, going for a sacrificial non-existent second off what was to be the last legitimate delivery of DC's innings. Except, Jordan had overstepped and new batsman Anrich Nortje managed to squeeze in three more.

How was KXIP's start with the bat?

Collapse is an understatement to describe KXIP's first half. Rahul got them going with a six off the early free-hit in the first over, but Iyer stuck with Mohit Sharma despite a loose first over and he repaid the faith with the prized wicket for KXIP skipper. Rahul was undone by an inswinger, after a barrage of deliveries going away from him, that he chopped onto his stumps after a 19-ball 21.

Ashwin struck with his first ball for Delhi, taking out Karun Nair for just one, and two balls later cleaned up Nicholas Pooran for a duck. Maxwell posted just one, hurrying into his shot as he tried to dispatch Rabada and ended up chipping it straight to Iyer at long-off. An early reprieve saw Sarfraz Khan's stay extended beyond the first ball, but he holed out to long-on at the halfway mark and at 55/5 Punjab were already playing catch up.

How about the second half, then?

Complete opposite of the first, and almost a winning effort. Agarwal combined with Gowtham for a 46-run association that kept KXIP in the hunt even though it seemed the pressure was mounting on them considerably. Agarwal was well-set when Gowtham fell and switched gears effortlessly to catch up with the rate. His fifty came off 45 balls with the first of the two sixes he hit off Mohit in the 18th over, before and after which with a couple of boundaries each off Nortje and Rabada.

With 13 required off the final six, Agarwal hit Stoinis for a six, a couple and a boundary to level the scores in just three balls. And then, in an anti-climatic finish, picked out the only token fielder in the deep - the sweeper cover - going for a glory short when he could have done absolutely anything else with that Stoinis full-toss. Stoinis offered another full toss, and this time Jordan sent it straight to short square leg to end up in the Super Over.

Injury watch

A wild but well-deserved celebration and a full length dive later, Ashwin walked off with the team's physio clutching his shoulder after just his maiden over for the Capitals. He did not bowl in the rest of the game although captain Iyer relayed Ashwin's message that the injury may not be as bad as was feared.

Where do they go from here?

Delhi have a four-day break before they take on CSK, at the same venue. KXIP too play their next game in Dubai, against RCB on Thursday.

Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 157/8 in 20 overs (Marcus Stoinis 53, Shreyas Iyer 39; Mohammad Shami 3-15, Sheldon Cottrell 2-24) tied with Kings XI Punjab 157/8 in 20 overs (Mayank Agarwal 89; R Ashwin 2-1, Kagiso Rabada 2-28, Marcus Stoinis 2-29) (DC won the Super Over).

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