Prabhsimran Singh’s magnificent maiden IPL hundred was well complemented by Harpreet Brar’s four wicket haul as Punjab Kings on Saturday kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a comprehensive 31-run win over Delhi Capitals, who were knocked out of contention in the process. If Prabhsimran showed tremendous resolve during his 65-ball 103 to single-handedly power PBKS to 167 for 7, Brar (4/30) and Rahul Chahar (2/16) then spun a web to strangle Delhi’s chase as the home side managed just 135 for 8, despite a sizzling 27-ball 54 by skipper David Warner. The win took Punjab to 12 points from 12 games, just outside the top four but they will need to win the next two matches as well to keep hopes of a playoff, while it was the end of the road for Delhi.
Earlier, while none of his batting colleagues could cross 20 runs on a sluggish pitch, Prabhsimran’s perseverance paid off as he lifted Punjab from 46 for 3 to a competitive total.
Warner and Phil Salt provided a flying start to Delhi’s chase but the spin duo of Brar and Chahar triggered a collapse with the hosts inexplicably losing six wickets for just 19 runs to slip from 69 for no loss to 88 for 6 in 10.1 overs.
Brar and Chahar were rewarded for bowling full and straight as wickets tumbled like nine pines at the Arun Jaitley stadium.
If Brar saw the back of Warner, Phil Salt (21), Rilee Rossouw (5), Manish Pandey (0), Chahar picked up wickets of Mitchell Marsh (3) and Axar Patel (1) in their quota of four overs.
With 66 needed off 36 balls, Aman Khan (16) and Praveen Dubey (16) tried their hands before becoming the victims of Nathan Ellis (2/21) as DC slumped to their eighth loss in 12 games to stay at the bottom with eight points.
Earlier, Prabhsimran looked well in control as 10 of his hits reached the ropes, while six crossed over it during his 65-ball 103, only his second T20 hundred and first in IPL.
The 22-year-old paced his innings well, scoring 27 from his first 30 balls before exploding to amass his next 76 runs from 35 balls.
An aggressive approach on a slow track backfired for Punjab with the team losing three early wickets for 46 in the first six overs after DC skipper David Warner asked them to bat first.
Prabhsimran and Sam Curran (20) then steadied the ship with a 72-run partnership off 54 balls.
Ishant Sharma was at the forefront as he recovered from a first-ball six to remove Shikhar Dhawan (7) in the next ball with Rilee Rossouw taking the catch at deep backward square leg.
Following two nine-run overs, Ishant returned to destroy the stumps of Liam Livingstone (4), who paid the price for dancing down the pitch after being away from strike for sometime with Prabhsimran producing three boundaries.
Prabhsimran looked in good touch as he sent Axar Patel for a six with a reverse hit but two balls later the left-arm spinner cleaned up Jitesh Sharma (5) who looked to play an inside out shot.
Kuldeep Yadav (1/32) and Praveen Dubey (1/19) kept it tight but Prabhsimran picked up the odd boundaries and rotated the strike to keep things moving for his team.
The momentum shifted drastically after the 11th over when Prabhsimran blasted two successive sixes and then a four off Mitchell Marsh, milking him for 21 runs.
He completed his fifty off 42 balls in the 13th over before slamming Kuldeep Yadav and Dubey into the stands for two maximums.
Curran tried to join the party but he couldn’t clear the ropes as Dubey picked up a wicket. However, there was no stopping Prabhsimran as he smoked Kuldeep for a six over deep square leg after a four to inch closer to his century.
He achieved the milestone with back-to-back fours off Khaleel, reaching the three-digit figure in 61 balls.
Prabhsimran finally was dismissed when he was looking for a scoop shot. He ended up being bowled by Mukesh Kumar.
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