Image credit – AFP
The Prince of Kolkata was back home and of course, he was on the winning side. Shikhar Dhawan might have run the hard yards in making an unbeaten 97 for Delhi Capitals, but Sourav Ganguly, sitting in the dug out, was the man of the moment.
Ganguly’s return to Kolkata was not without controversy. Three fans had complained to the BCCI ombudsman that Ganguly’s dual role as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal and advisor of Delhi Capitals in the IPL constituted a conflict of interest. The argument: What if he used his magic Bengal dust to work conditions at Eden Gardens in favour of Delhi?
Wonderful play by @RealShubmanGill & @Russell12A yet again. Losing is ok but today we kind of lacked heart, especially bowling, that’s sad. Only positive out of this game was that our Dada @SGanguly99 was at Eden on the winning side. Congrats @DelhiCapitals
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) April 12, 2019
We can’t say if it was the Ganguly effect, but there must have been something in the air. For once, not only did Delhi not irrevocably collapse in a chase, but they also put in an all-round performance. Ishant Sharma struck on the first ball of the day and Colin Ingram sent the last one for a six. In the middle, despite the explosive efforts of Andre Russell (who else) and Shubman Gill (promoted to open and finally getting some batting time), they kept their heads.
Ganguly, fronting up to the media after the seven-wicket win with seven balls to spare, didn’t hide the smugness in pointing out that his side were now two for two against KKR.
Shikhar Dhawan. Not having crossed 30 in his last four innings and looking like he was struggling for timing even before that, the senior in a young Delhi side finally stepped up to be the anchor they need.
“He batted like Shikhar Dhawan today,” declared Ganguly – with excusable tautology, because it did indeed look like Dhawan had finally come to the party.
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) April 12, 2019
He took six balls to get off the mark, but then got stuck in for a solid innings. There was none of the power of a Russell or even a Rishab Pant, with whom he added 105 for the third wicket. But Dhawan’s knock did include classy drives, with 11 fours and two sixes.
He was left watching on 97* off 63 balls when Ingram hit a six for the winning runs with more than an over to spare. “For me, 97 is [like] a hundred as well,” Dhawan said holding a smile, but Ingram probably shouldn’t expect any thank you cards.
KKR minus Russell. Dinesh Karthik admittedly changed his side a fair bit, with both Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine sitting out on Friday. And while Gill did make the most of his promotion with a breezy 65 off 39, and Piyush Chawla came in to strike two fours for 14* off six balls, it should come as some concern that no other batsman had a strike rate over 100. Poor Joe Denly was out in his very first ball in IPL.
Russell, with an average of 100.66 and striking at 212.67, has been key to all KKR’s wins. He’s even performed when they lost. Meanwhile, Nitish Rana has faded away, and all of Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn and Karthik are striking at less than 130. Russell is a bowler’s nightmare this 2019, but the rest of the line-up, while no bunnies, aren’t going to ruin any sleep.
What they said
'Dhawan in the league of Rohit, Virat & MS Dhoni': @SGanguly99
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 13, 2019
“It’s bigger than a hundred.”
– Sourav Ganguly on Dhawan’s 97*, not setting a great example in mathematics for the watching Dhawan Jnr.
What they didn’t say
Joe Denly is currently one of only six men in #IPL history to have been dismissed off the only delivery they have faced in the IPL.
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) April 12, 2019
“I feel so welcome in the IPL.”
– Joe Denly to Ishant Sharma, having been bowled first ball and sent off with a kiss
Double-header day. Rohit Sharma is set to return for Mumbai Indians against Rajasthan Royals. Royal Challengers Bangalore have signed on Dale Steyn – he won’t be available for their next two fixtures, including the Punjab game today, but they’ll hope they finally have at least a win to welcome him with.