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IPL: PBKS climb up the table, thrash KKR

Punjab Kings have secured the fifth spot in the points table following a clinical performance against Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders.

PBKS reached 166 with five wickets and three balls to spare.

After KL Rahul departed in the penultimate over to Venkatesh Iyer, Shahrukh Khan kept his nerves calm to take the team over the line.

KL Rahul reclaims the Orange Cap

With another half-century, KL Rahul led the charge for the PBKS from the start.

His 67 has helped him retain the Orange Cap.

The PBKS skipper applied a different approach in this contest.

In the powerplay, he was visibly struggling to make it big, but he did not panic.

Rahul kept his composure and aimed to bat deep. Although he batted at a mediocre strike rate of 121.82, it was enough to march on to another victory.

Iyer makes his mark

Venkatesh Iyer reached his highest score in the IPL in the game.

His 67-run knock showed how he is in the groove ever since he has begun opening the KKR batting with Shubman Gill.

After Gill departed cheaply, he kept the scoreboard ticking alongside Rahul Tripathi.

Iyer’s ability to play the ball late has helped him make his impact right away.

Iyer keeps his game plan. He respects good deliveries and spanks bad balls over the boundary cushions.

Although, his half-century ended in vain, but he has proved to the KKR management that he’s their go-to guy man in crunch situations.

Watching Brendon McCullum applauding Iyer like a proud coach showed that Iyer’s future is secured in the KKR huddle.

Punjab Kings 168 for 5 (Rahul 67, Agarwal 40, Chakravarthy 2-24) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 165 for 7 (Iyer 67, Tripathi 34, Arshdeep 3-32) by five wickets

Match preview – DC vs MI

Finalists of the last year’s IPL – Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians – will lock horns in first game of the double-header fixtures on Saturday.

The Sheikh Zayed Stadium will host the showdown that starts at 3:30 pm (IST). If Delhi win tomorrow, they will join Chennai Super Kings in the playoffs.

Probable best performers

Shreyas Iyer

Iyer has performed very well since his return from the gruesome shoulder injury.

With captaincy duties off his shoulders, the top-order star has been phenomenal in the middle overs.

He has already bagged a Man of the Match award in the three games he has featured.

Keeping Iyer’s bat quiet will be an uphill task for MI’s bowling cartel on Saturday.

Avesh Khan

Avesh’s 3/13 in Delhi’s last game showed he is still in form with the ball.

He had two quiet games in the UAE, but he is back on his hustle to snatch the Blue Cap from RCB’s Harshal Patel.

Being a gun powerplay bowler has allowed him to notch big wickets consistently, adding to his confidence.

Match prediction

When both sides bumped into one another last season, Rohit Sharma and co lifted the coveted IPL trophy.

But things have changed since then. Delhi have turned up with their A-game this season, whereas the reigning champions are languishing at the sixth spot in the points table.

Delhi lost their last game to Kolkata Knight Riders, but they are ranked second at the spot table for a reason.

They have performed well consistently, clicked in every department and confided in Rishabh Pant’s ability to lead the team.

DC are certainly the favourites to win the contest against Sharma’s men.

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