Mayank Agarwal narrowly missed out on a hundred, but did enough to rally Punjab Kings to 166 for 6 in their Indian Premier League match against Delhi Capitals, in Ahmedabad, on Sunday.
Leading the side in the absence K L Rahul, who was hospitalised earlier on Sunday after been diagnosed with acute appendicitis, he scored an unbeaten 99 to help Punjab Kings recover from the loss of early wickets and put up a fighting total.
Dawid Malan was the only other batsman who made a noteworthy contribution of 26 from as many balls as Kagiso Rabada snared three wickets for 36 runs.
Asked to bat first, the Kings had a bad start, losing Prabhsimran Singh and Chris Gayle inside the first six overs with only 39 runs on the board, before 52-run partnership between Agarwal and Malan revived the innings.
Prabhsimran Singh and Agarwal opened the batting for the Punjab Kings while Ishant Sharma got the bowling underway for Delhi Capitals, bowling a maiden over.
Marcus Stoinis then conceded just six runs in the next over as the Punjab openers adopted a cautious approach.
Prabhsimran hit Ishant for a six in the third over to get the innings going as Punjab got nine from it.
Kagiso Rabada was introduced in the fourth over and the South Africa pacer struck with his third delivery, dismissing Prabhsimran.
The batsman tried to dispatch it over extra-cover but did not get much elevation and Steven Smith took a sharp catch.
Prabhsimran was out for 12 off 16 balls, which included a six, and Punjab were 18 for 1.
Chris Gayle, who replaced Prabhsimran, hit Avesh Khan for a four in the next over but became Rabada’s second victim off the second ball of the sixth over.
The West Indian latched on to a full toss, but the ball took outside edge and crashed into the stumps. He was out for 13 off 9, including a four and six, before Punjab Kings finished the powerplay with 39 for 2.
Dawid Malan took time to settle down and scored 11 off 17 balls before hitting for a six and four in the 12th over. However, Axar Patel, who conceded just seven in his first two overs, returned and bowled him with his first delivery in the 13th over.
Having played too many dot balls, the England batsman went for a big hit, missed and looked back to see his leg-stump uprooted.
Malan was out for 26 off 26 balls, including a four and six, and Punjab Kings were 87 for 3.
Two deliveries later Delhi got another wicket when Deepak Hooda was run-out.
Agarwal tapped a delivery from Axar to the right of Shimron Hetmyer and took off for a single, but Hooda was late in responding and Axar did well to take off the bails.
Punjab Kings were 88 for 4 in the 14th over.
Agarwal then launched an all-out assault and clobbered the bowlers in the death overs, even as Shahrukh Khan (4) and Chris Jordon (2) disappointed.
He hit a four, six and four off the last three deliveries of the innings but missed out on a hundred despite 23 runs coming from the over.
Punjab finished with a decent 166 for 6.
Rabada took three wickets for 36 runs, while Avesh Khan snared 1 for 39) and Axar Patel (1 for 21.
- IPL 2021
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