Punjab kings 167 for 7 (Prabhsimran 103, Ishant 2-27) count Capitals of Delhi 136 for 8 (Warner 54, Harpreet 4-30, Chahar 2-16) by 31 runs
In demanding batting conditions, the Punjab opener, with only one previous score over fifty in this tournament, found ways not only to survive, but to keep scoring quick runs in a way no one else has managed to do. It felt like a coming-of-age innings.
How it started
When there’s pace in the field, it’s easy to hit through the line and keep the scoring steady. If he’s not there, it’s even hard to get the ball off the square. So you walk in fits and starts.
Kings got 22 balls for no runs in the power play, but hit seven others for 32 runs (5×4 and 2×6).
Much of this work was a result of Prabhsimran’s enterprise. His role on the team is to do whatever it takes to maximize field constraints. And he performed admirably, switch-hitting spin for sixes and moving all over the batting crease, just to throw the bowlers off their plans.
But then his role changed. From the man who couldn’t put a price on his wicket, he became the man who just couldn’t get out. So he sat down. He got used to the field. And by about the 12th, he was finding ways to maintain his form and exert complete control over his shots.
Prabhsimran was 53 of 44. Then he fell to 68. Then he was 102 of 61.
That’s 49 in 17 balls. On a field where none of his teammates passed 20, and only two others managed to score better than run-a-ball. This was a spectacular display of perseverance, even if he had a little help.
In conditions where the ball doesn’t hit the bat, all you need to do is pace, hit a hard length, and most importantly, aim for the stumps. Don’t let the batter free his arms.
However, Prabhsimran was in fact invited to free his arms. According to ESPNcricinfo’s data, most of the balls he faced (33) were outside the stump or worse, wide outside the stump. And he took 60 runs from them, including seven fours and three sixes.
Capitals should have known better. The opportunity they created – the flyout that dropped Rilee Roussouw – resulted from a mishit on a ball that landed in line with this body. They didn’t learn. And they were punished.
How it ended
It made no sense why Kings would have allowed such a thing to happen on a pitch where the ball both stopped at the batters and spun more than decently.
Finally, Shikhar Dhawan turned around and the game changed.
By the end, Capitals needed seven players to combine to reach the total they allowed one batter. These were not the conditions for giving away a century.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo