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After Prabhsimran Singh’s Ton, Punjab Kings Spinners Turn Delhi Capitals’ Dream Start Into Nightmare

Prabhsimran Singh was on the verge of reaching a milestone, more importantly, making history. Khaleel Ahmed had to carry the weight on his shoulder to stop that. It was fourth ball of the eighteenth over and he bowled it wide outside the off stump.

Prabhsimran stretched his arms, reached the ball, and sliced the ball through backward point region. The ball raced through the gap and cleared the fence. Prabhsimran’s celebration explained how important the milestone was.

He raised his bat and helmet, did a fist bump with his partner, raised his bat once again, then put his bat and helmet down and soaked in the moment with folded hands.

His dream probably had come true. The keeper-batter had his maiden IPL century. He became the sixth youngest centurion in the history of this iconic tournament and second-youngest of the season.

Just a day earlier, PBKS coach Wasim Jaffer had said that Prabh had not got enough chances earlier, and now that he has got a consistent run, he is showing his talent. The century was nothing less than a tribute to the coach’s statement.

To avoid any confusion, “The celebration was saying thanks to the management,” Prabhsimran confirmed.

The opener’s innings was a well-balanced one and nothing that might seem like a fluke. The powerplay was more like attritional cricket than a whirlwind T20. Bad balls were put to the fence, the good ones defended like Test cricket.

Ishant Sharma and Axar Patel bowled Test match like lines and restricted the Punjab batters from batting freely early on. Punjab batters ran only six singles and ended at 45/3 in the six overs.

Prabhsimran, however, stood still, quite silently though. He played at a strike rate of 90 for the first 30 balls. The next 35, he smashed at a strike rate of 217.14. While the start was quite silent, he opened up in the middle phase, especially in Mitchell Marsh’s over wherein he smashed two maximums and a boundary. He faced just four deliveries from Marsh, but collected 17 runs.

Prabhsimran then went after Kuldeep Yadav, smashing 27 balls from 15 balls at a strike rate of 180 – that included two fours and two maximums.

Highlights: DC vs PBKS IPL 2023

If the opener had carried the bat for 20 overs, PBKS would have reached 180 but he was bowled with 10 balls to spare. As he was walking back to the dugout, Ishant gave him a pat on the back, Rossouw also appreciated the knock with a fist bump. Punjab ended 10 or 15 runs short, or so it seemed at the end of first half.

But they had the strength to fight Delhi’s new philosophy.

Delhi Capitals’ powerplay was going at a whirlwind pace. They were racing at 53/0 after five overs. After ducking to the first ball from Arshdeep Singh, a bouncer, he pulled two back-to-back short deliveries towards cow corner.

The first one reaped four runs, the next went all the way for a six. The Delhi crowd roared, creating heavy tides with a sea of blue flags.

Delhi had cruised to 65/0 at the end of powerplay. Warner – 48 off 21 – for the first time in a while, seemed at his vintage best. And it was evident right at the start as Warner smashed Rishi Dhawan for two boundaries to get the innings underway.

The blue flag tides turned to ebbs as Delhi was sent on back foot as soon as the powerplay ended. Harpreet Brar bowled Phil Salt in the seventh over. Rahul Chahar caught Mitchell Marsh plumb in the next over. Rilee Rossouw was caught in the deep in ninth over, Brar the culprit once again.

Amid all the madness, Warner reached his half-century off a dropped catch. However, he too was adjudged LBW at the end of the ninth over. Rahul Chahar continued the trend and dismissed Axar Patel at the start of the 10th over. Rahul Chahar’s deliveries were turning square. He fielded two slips after Axar’s dismissal, though only for one delivery.

Delhi lost five wickets for 17 runs. The sixth wicket fell two runs later. A dream-like start for the home side had turned into a nightmare.

Warner’s vintage comeback was not short-lived, but not long enough either. Delhi’s aggressive approach was not wrong, it just couldn’t last long and Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar had spun a web around Delhi batters.

Also Read | Who is Prabhsimran Singh?

Brar’s first over in the powerplay went for 13 runs, but he brought Delhi to their knees bagging four wickets in the next three overs.

Rahul Chahar was even better, and turned the Test match mode back on, conceding just 16 runs in four overs for two wickets.

Delhi went down for the umpteenth time in this tournament, and were finally thrown out of the ring with a knockout punch. The points table that seemed engrossing a few days back, had eased down a bit.

By the 15th over of the second innings, the match had almost been decided. The fans had started leaving the stands. The blue sea remained intact, but only that instead of flags, blue chairs were more vibrantly visible.

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