Mitchell Marsh of Australia stated on Monday that it’s all about “peaking at the right time” after helping Delhi Capitals win their second straight IPL match to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Marsh’s 63 off 48 balls helped Delhi to 159-7 against a disciplined Punjab Kings attack led by England’s Liam Livingstone, who had 3-27 with his off and leg-spin in Mumbai.
Delhi successfully defended the target, with fast bowler Shardul Thakur delivering 4-36 from four overs to reduce the opponents to 142-9 and won by 17 runs.
The Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals have jumped to fourth place in the 10-team table, trailing just the Gujarat Titans, who have already secured a top-two finish.
“It’s been one of those seasons where we’ve been stop-start. In long tournaments like this, it’s about peaking at the right time,” Marsh said on his team’s first back-to-back win this season.
“I think over the last week or 10 days, we’ve played some really good cricket and that’s a really good sign. We’ve got one more to go.
“We know if we win that, we’ll be in the finals (play-offs) and we can give it a real good shake. I’ve got great belief in this team.”
With one game remaining, Punjab are in seventh place and have a small chance of making the last four.
After being sent into bat first, Delhi got off to a bad start as David Warner fell the first ball to Livingstone’s off-spin, handing up a catch at backward point.
Sarfaraz Khan responded with a 32-ball 16 before succumbing to Arshdeep Singh, a left-arm medium-pace bowler who finished with three wickets.
Livingstone shook the middle order with vital wickets of skipper Rishabh Pant (7) and Rovman Powell. Marsh, who scored a match-winning 89 in Delhi’s previous outing, remained firm (2).
Marsh attacked, remained composed when wickets went, and then accelerated his knock, which included three sixes, to help Delhi reach their target.
Punjab’s chase was hampered by Jonny Bairstow’s departure and twin strikes by Thakur in the sixth over, which sent back Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Shikhar Dhawan.
“I always like to perform in the crunch times,” Thakur said after being named man of the match.
“These last two games, 13 and 14, are important for our team. I always feel happy when I rise to the occasion for our team.”
Slow bowlers swiftly grabbed control, with left-arm orthodox Axar Patel and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking the key wickets of skipper Mayank Agarwal for nought and Livingstone for three respectively.
Axar and Kuldeep each had two wickets.
Punjab were 82-7 when wicketkeeper-batsman Jitesh Sharma gave Delhi a fright with a 34-ball 44, but Thakur got him out with Warner taking a brilliant low catch at long-off.
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