Quinton de Kock showed imperious form in his 80 off 52 balls as Lucknow Super Giants outplayed Delhi Capitals by six wickets for their third successive win in their debut IPL season here on Thursday. Delhi Capitals lost their way after a sizzling knock from Prithvi Shaw (61 off 31) to end at 149 for 3 after Lucknow predictably decided to field first. With the resources that Lucknow possess, 150 should have been a comfortable chase and the K L Rahul-led side made sure it was, getting home with two balls to spare on a tricky surface.
De Kock was at his destructive best as he shared a 73-run stand with his opening partner Rahul (24 off 25).
The South African wicketkeeper-batter was particularly harsh on compatriot Anrich Nortje who was playing his first game since November. The fit again pacer, playing his first IPL game in India, was smashed for three fours and a six by de Kock in an over leaking 19 runs.
In what turned out to be a forgettable night for Nortje, the South African pacer had to be taken off the attack later after bowling two waist-high no balls.
After Rahul’s fall, his team needed 76 off the last 10 overs. De Kock, who collected nine fours and two sixes, put the team on the cusp of victory with his second 50-plus score of the tournament.
With the pitch not the easiest one to bat on, Lucknow struggled to finish the game with even the in-form Deepak Hooda and experienced Krunal Pandya not finding the big hits.
Lucknow eventually managed to get the job done with the young Ayush Badoni hitting the decisive four and a six off Shardul Thakur in the final over.
Earlier, Shaw’s knock was all class before Lucknow bounced back in the game with an impressive bowling performance. Young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/22) was the standout performer for the new IPL entrants.
David Warner (4 off 12), returning to the franchise where he made his IPL debut back in 2009, struggled in his first innings of the season.
Off-spinner K Gowtham (1/23) was given the ball in the second over and Shaw did not let him settle, dispatching a full ball over cover for his first four of the innings.
Jason Holder was at the receiving end in the following over when Shaw pulled him for a six over mid-wicket. Then came the turn of pacer Avesh Khan who was hammered for three consecutive fours in the fourth over.
It seemed Shaw was batting on a different surface while the others struggled around him. He used his quick hands to cut the ball and was equally quick to drive anything full over cover.
It was a promising powerplay for Capitals who reached 52 for no loss in six overs. However, Lucknow fought back after the powerplay with wickets of Shaw, Warner and Rovman Powell (3 off 10) in a space of 18 balls.
Shaw was caught behind off Gowtham after he hit him for a straight six. Warner fell to a poor shot off Bishnoi and Powell saw his stumps disturbed as he went for the slog-sweep off a googly from the young leg-spinner, leaving Capitals at 74 for three in the 11th over.
The onus was on skipper Rishabh Pant (39 not out off 36) to take the team to a respectable total and he did that in the company of Sarfaraz Khan (36 not out off 28) who was playing his debut game for the franchise.
Pant mainly targeted the straight boundaries and Sarfaraz, without taking much risks, showed skills that has fetched him a bagful of runs in domestic cricket.