Beleaguered Delhi Capitals finally came out all guns blazing as they played party poopers to all but knock Punjab Kings out of play-off contention with a 15-run victory in the IPL in Dharamsala on Wednesday. (More Cricket News) | (Scorecard)
Already out of the playoff race, Delhi Capitals finally came to the party in their penultimate match of the season to post an imposing 213/2 after PBKS opted to bowl.
Rilee Rossouw exhibited some exceptional strokeplay in a 37-ball 82 not out, while Prithvi Shaw (54; 38b) also slammed a fifty on his comeback after about a month as DC scored their first 200-plus total of this season.
In response, PBKS managed just 198/8 in the stipulated 20 overs despite all the fielding harakiri committed by DC.
Englishman Liam Livingstone slammed a 48-ball 94, studded with five fours and as many as nine sixes, but it was not enough as the total proved too much.
While Delhi now are ninth on the table after a consolation win, Punjab Kings due to this heavy defeat stay put on 12 after 13 games and even a win in the last match and a 14-point finish might not be enough as the net run-rate -0.308 only added insult to injury.
The Preity Zinta co-owned side since their 2014 final appearance, have not even made it to last four stage for nine years in a row.
But DC's fielding effort did give them enough chances.
As many as three catches were dropped including Livingstone on three, and Taide on 35, both in the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav who returned with 0/21 from his three overs.
They also missed two run-out chances when both the batters, Livingstone and Taide, were out of the crease but DC could not manage to hit the stumps on a sloppy outing.
PBKS took a tactical decision to retire out rookie Atharva Taide after his 42-ball 55 (5x4, 2x6) as he simply found it difficult to get going after first part of the innings.
Livingstone kept the PBKS run chase going racing to a 30-ball fifty, his sixth of the tournament as he brought the equation down to 38 from last two overs from being an near impossible 79 from four overs.
The Englishman turned it on in style in the 17th over when Khaleel started off with no-ball for height as he leaked 20 runs.
Three sixes off Mukesh Kumar in the next over put the equation on course for PBKS before Anrich Nortje, who had dropped Livingstone early on, redeemed himself with a perfect penultimate over.
Nortje conceded just five runs and cleaned up Sam Curran (11), while PBKS lost another when Harpreet Brar was run out.
DC bowlers stifled PBKS' tall chase early on with leftarm seamer Khaleel Ahmed starting off with a maiden, while Ishant Sharma dismissing Dhawan off the first ball.
From 10/1 in three overs, PBKS duo Prabhsimran and Atharva finally stepped it up with five boundaries (4x4, 1x6) in a row across two overs.
Already out of playoff race, DC got off to a flying start with Prithvi Shaw smashing a 54 on his comeback after nearly a month.
Shaw, who made his last appearance in this season's IPL against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 20, returned to form to post a 35-ball 50, his first in 13 IPL innings.
Shaw copped body blows from Rabada en route his 38-ball knock (7x4, 1x6) as he along with his skipper David Warner (46 from 31b; 5x4, 2x6) gave their best start of the season.
The duo put together a 94-run opening stand, their highest this season before Rossouw took charge of the proceedings with his maiden IPL fifty that came off 25 balls.
Rossouw took charge when he sent his South African teammate into the orbit with a six over long-off.
He followed it up with a boundary and then a sublime pick-up six over deep square leg as there was no looking back for the South African from there on.
Rabada went on to concede 36 from his three overs, while Sam Curran took 2/36.
From a sedate six for no loss in two overs, DC raced to 61 without losing a wicket in the powerplay with Warner and Shaw putting up their highest opening partnership this season after PBKS opted to bowl.
This was the second instance when DC did not lose a wicket inside the powerplay this season.
DC got going when Warner whacked Curran for back-to-back boundaries before taking on Rabada.
Shaw pulled Rabada for a boundary before Warner took on the South African pacer with two sixes in three balls in a 17-run over.
They cruised to 50 inside five overs as Warner and Shaw took on the Punjab bowlers.
Nothing went in PBKS' favour on Wednesday, with Rahul Chahar dropping a sitter to give Warner a reprieve on 39. The Aussie was done in by a spectacular catch by Shikhar Dhawan but by then DC were on course for their first 200-plus total this season.