Delhi Capitals 130 for 8 (Aman 51, Shami 4-11, Mohit 2-33) beat Gujarat Titans 125 for 6 (Hardik 59*, Ishant 2-23, Khaleel 2-24) by five runs
In a game with twists of epic proportions, tenth-placed Delhi Capitals trumped table-toppers Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad, winning by five runs in dramatic fashion.
Tewatia sets up thrilling finish
When Titans needed 42 off the last four overs, the game could have gone either way. But quiet overs from Kuldeep and Khaleel to end their respective spells made the equation 33 off the last two overs.
When Nortje began the 19th over with three pinpoint yorkers, the game was in the Capitals’ grasp, only for Tewatia to bring the home crowd alive once again with three successive leg-side sixes. When Ishant ran in to bowl the 20th, the momentum was with the Titans, but Hardik and Tewatia couldn’t find the early boundary in the over. Ishant then had Tewatia caught at cover, and when Rashid Khan needed a six off the final ball to force a Super Over, he conceded just a single to finish with figures of 2 for 23.
Capitals’ Indian players stand up
Warner, who was run out, Phil Salt and Rilee Rossouw all failed with the bat, and were the first three men gone after Capitals opted to bat at the toss. When Shami also sent Manish Pandey and Priyam Garg packing, there was a chance Capitals would fold for a sub-100 score.
But Aman and Axar put on 50 off 54 balls for the sixth wicket to resurrect the innings. The pitch was not hugely difficult but the early jolts forced the pair onto the defensive. As their partnership grew, their scoring rate increased but Capitals suffered another setback when Axar fell at the end of the 14th over, miscuing Mohit Sharma to the deep. Aman, though, took charge after Axar’s dismissal and got to his half-century. He combined with Ripal to help Capitals take 41 runs from overs 16 to 18, a passage of play that allowed them to set Titans 131 to win.
Then, it was Khaleel, Kuldeep, Axar and Ishant who hurt Titans in the chase. Khaleel bowled a first-over maiden that included the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha. Returning to the team after a long hamstring-injury break, Khaleel beat Saha’s edge three times off his first three deliveries and then found the edge to the keeper off the last ball of the over.
Two overs later, Shubman Gill was out to Nortje, finding cover with a drive, but the body blows came when Ishant rattled Vijay Shankar’s stumps with a knuckleball and Kuldeep disturbed David Miller’s poles. That had the Titans reeling at 32 for 4, almost as bad a situation as Capitals’ 23 for 5.
Hardik and Abhinav Manohar battled away, putting on a 62-run fifth-wicket partnership, but they consumed 63 balls, allowing the required rate to climb steadily. Axar conceded just 24 in four wicketless overs, while Kuldeep finished with a frugal 1 for 15, including a five-run 17th over. Khaleel and Ishant then bowled terrific overs either side of Nortje’s expensive 19th to make it a day to celebrate for Capitals.
Shami’s super spell
Shami’s first-ball wicket was a lucky one, a slot delivery hit straight to cover by Salt, but it was all skill after that. He delivered four overs straight after taking the new ball and finished with figures of 4 for 11, with 19 dots in 24 balls. He operated on a good length and had Rossouw edging a delivery angling across to Saha in his second over.
In his third over, he stayed on a similar length with a more prominent upright seam to right-handers Pandey and Garg, and both batters were caught behind fishing at deliveries outside off. Shami, who took the Player of the Match award, extended his lead at the top of the IPL 2023 list for most powerplay wickets. Sandwiched between Shami’s first two wickets was Warner’s dismissal, run out at the non-striker’s end after a mix-up with Garg.
Once Shami’s spell was done, the pitch didn’t turn much for Noor Ahmad or Rashid Khan. Mohit and Josh Little did not find much grip with their cutters either. The two seamers eventually finished with relatively expensive figures as they failed to control the flow of runs at the death. Capitals scored 52 in their last five overs, propelled by Ripal’s unbeaten 13-ball 23 and Aman’s 44-ball 51, which proved to be the difference in the end.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx