In the absence of Prithvi Shaw, the onus was on David Warner to provide Delhi Capitals with a breezy start against Punjab Kings on Monday. Warner has been their most consistent batter, having scored two half-centuries in his last three innings.

To negate Warner’s threat Punjab Kings’ skipper Mayank Agarwal started the attack with Liam Livingstone, a part-time spinner capable of turning the ball both ways. The move could have easily backfired for Punjab, as Warner is among a rare set of players who has the convincing hitting ability against both spin and pace. 

Against the spinners, his strike rate hovers over 140. Bowling off-spin to a left-handed batter is a time-tested method to restrict the scoring areas. But it has rarely worked for teams against Warner. Two years ago Warner smashed consecutive fours to bring 14 runs in the opening over, bowled by an off-spinner Moeen Ali. Since then, the franchises have always resisted the temptation to send an offie against him.

On Monday, Warner quickly changed the ends upon seeing Liam Livingstone in the attack. Even though Sarfaraz Ahmed had already taken the guard, Warner rushed to the striker’s end. Things, however, didn’t go well for Warner, who holed out to the man at a backward point. This was Warner’s third golden-duck in T20s, and the first since 2013, when he got out on the first ball, against the same franchise.

It was not the start Delhi would have hoped for in what was a must-win game for them. However, Mitchell Marsh showed his utility and scored 63 with his measured approach to take Delhi to the fighting total. Marsh got little support from the rest of the batting order, as both Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell got out cheaply.

Delhi, however, won the game by 17 runs, thanks to a four-wicket haul from Shardul Thakur. They have now moved to fourth place in the points table. 

“It’s been one of those seasons where we’ve been stop start. In long tournaments like this, it’s about peaking at the right time,” Marsh said about the victory. “I think over the last week or 10 days, we’ve played some really good cricket and that’s a really good sign. We’ve got one more to go.”

(Featured Image Credit: Twitter)