Lucknow Super Giants 155 for 4 (de Kock 80, Kuldeep 2-31) beat Delhi Capitals 149 for 3 (Shaw 61, Pant 39, Sarfaraz 36, Bishnoi 2-22) by six wickets
Between them the LSG spinners bowled 10 overs for 57 runs and took all three wickets to fall. Gowtham also bowled the first maiden Pant has faced in the IPL.
Shaw welcomes back Warner
This was a homecoming of sorts for Warner to the team he made his IPL debut for. Shaw was there to make him feel at home, giving him a right-hand impression of the batter he used to be before he began to set himself up for the long innings. The LSG fast bowlers tried to bowl hard lengths at Shaw, but kept getting cut or pulled. He alone scored 47 in the powerplay, letting Warner ease his way back in.
Against the spinners Shaw remained aggressive and effective, going over cover with ease and punishing any error in length. In the eighth over, he stepped out to Gowtham to hit him for a straight six before going over cover for four.
Shaw gone, choke on
Gowtham responded by moving round the wicket and pushing one across Shaw. Shaw saw a third boundary in a row and went for the cut, but the angle and some extra bounce defeated him to take the top edge.
Capitals then made a curious move to promote Rovman Powell to No. 3. Before today, Powell had struck at 150 against pace and 116 against spin. He was now being exposed to spin on a surface with grip.
When Sarfaraz Khan reverse-swept the last ball of the 11th over, it was the first boundary by a batter not named Shaw.
More than Warner or Powell, Pant’s struggle was stark. He managed just eight off the first 19 balls he faced, surviving a run-out chance in the process. It was with the last ball of the 15th over that he finally broke free, lofting a Bishnoi wrong’un over extra-cover. When Andrew Tye offered him a full-toss and two slot balls in the 16th, Pant finally went past a run a ball with a four and two sixes. Sarfaraz got stuck into Avesh in the 17th over, making it 130 for 3 and raising hopes for Capitals.
Holder’s mix of cutters and yorkers, though, completely shut Pant and Sarfaraz out. He bowled the 18th and the 20th, but conceded no boundary. Avesh made a stellar comeback in the 19th, conceding just the one four. This 36-ball 39 was Pant’s third-slowest innings of 30 balls or more. To make matters worse, the bowlers were wiping the ball with a towel every ball, an ominous sign if you have only managed a low total.
De Kock aces the chase
With Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav in the side and with Lalit Yadav becoming effective with part-time spin, Capitals still had an attack to fight in defence of the small total, but the wet ball tipped the scales in LSG’s favour.
Mustafizur Rahman and Lalit kept things tight for the first four overs, but the floodgates opened when Anrich Nortje bowled for the first time in an IPL match in India. The fifth over was full of half-volleys, which de Kock dispatched for three fours, before pulling a short ball for a six.
The target was so low that it took a string of tight overs to take the asking rate past 8.5 an over, but just one beamer from Nortje that went for a six in the 14th over for it to come crashing down to 7.5. Another beamer in the 16th sent Nortje off, and de Kock hit Kuldeep for two fours. When he finally fell, de Kock had left his side seven an over to get in the last four overs.
Krunal, Badoni calm the nerves
Fourteen balls without a boundary, bowled by Mustafizur and Shardul Thakur, created nerves for LSG, making it 17 required off 10 balls. Krunal and Deepak Hooda tried their best to find the boundary, but the defensive bowling remained top-class. Eventually, though, Krunal picked a slower one and lofted it back over Mustafizur’s head, and then picked three straight braces to leave just five to get in the last over. They still needed Ayush Badoni to come out and hit a boundary when it came down to five off four.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo