Indian T20 League: Bharat heroics help Bangalore pip Delhi

Srikar Bharat dispatched a full toss over the ropes for a six as Bangalore clinched a stunning win over table-toppers Delhi in the final league stage fixture of the 2021 season. It was a terrific comeback by Virat Kohli’s men, who scored 58 runs from the final five overs to chase down 165. Bangalore picked up their fourth win in the last five games, while Delhi suffered a second defeat against the three-time runners-up this season.

An unbeaten 111-run stand for the fourth wicket steered Bangalore to their ninth win in the 2021 season. Bharat registered his maiden half-century, and Glenn Maxwell notched up another crucial knock in Bangalore colors. Mohammed Siraj, too, was impressive. He kept the Delhi batsmen at bay and clinched two wickets in the death overs. For Delhi, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw put together a half-century stand for the opening wicket. Anrich Nortje finished with figures of 2/25 in four overs.

Delhi openers dominate

Dhawan and Shaw have been the most prolific opening duo in the league this season. They registered a 50-plus stand for the sixth time this season after adding 88 runs in 62 balls. The Bangalore bowling attack couldn’t pick up a wicket early in the innings. Delhi raced to 55/0 in the powerplay. Maxwell saw this third over go for 14 runs, while Shaw took Yuzvendra Chahal to the cleaners in his second over.

Harshal Patel broke the stand with the wicket of Dhawan, who found Dan Christian at mid-off. It was his 30th wicket of the season. Chahal, too, struck as he removed Shaw for 48. Delhi suffered another setback after captain Rishabh Pant departed for 10, caught by Bharat off the bowling of Christian. From 88/0, the franchise lost three wickets for just 20 runs. Shreyas Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer were at the crease, with seven overs remaining.

The death overs

Hetmyer, who survived a run-out chance on 0, hit a four and a six off Christian’s second over, which went for 16. However, Delhi struggled to find boundaries. George Garton and Harshal gave just 13 runs from the 16th and 17th overs. Iyer holed out to Christian at long-on for 18. But Hetmyer ended the drought with a four. He also cleared the ropes in the penultimate over, helping Bangalore go past 150.

Siraj delivered an excellent final over. He conceded just six runs and got the wicket of Hetmyer, who made a 22-ball 29. Delhi, who had made a stellar start, had to settle for 164. Despite having seven wickets in hand, the franchise could only manage 36 runs off the last five overs.

Nortje’s twin strikes

Bangalore lost their openers early in the run chase. Devdutt Padikkal was dismissed for a golden duck, while Kohli’s stay at the middle lasted just eight balls. The new man Bharat went after Axar Patel in his first over. The wicketkeeper-batsman came down the track and registered Bangalore’s first six. He scored a four in the next delivery. Meanwhile, AB de Villiers hammered the ball into the stands in Ravichandran Ashwin’s opening over. The former South Africa captain slapped the ball over Axar’s head for a boundary. The scorecard read 54/2 in nine overs.

Axar left Bangalore in trouble after picking up the wicket of De Villiers in the tenth over. The Proteas batter tried to clear the deep square leg but found Iyer, who took an easy catch near the ropes. Bharat eased the pressure with a boundary off the next ball. Bangalore needed another 104 runs from 60 balls.

Match-winning partnership

With the asking rate climbing high, Bharat and Maxwell had to take risks. The Aussie pinch-hitter scored back-to-back fours off Axar and saw Ashwin drop him at short third man. Nortje, too, conceded two fours in his third over. Bangalore also managed to pick up plenty of singles and doubles. The pair didn’t have many dot balls in their 63-ball stand. Bharat reached fifty, his first in the Indian T20 League.

Bangalore added 15 runs, including a four and a six, off Kagiso Rabada. Meanwhile, Maxwell struck a boundary in the 18th over to leave them needing 19 runs from 12 balls. Bangalore could only muster four runs in Nortje’s final over. It meant 15 runs were required off six balls. Maxwell scored a four and ran two in Avesh’s opening two deliveries. However, he could score only just three runs from the next three deliveries. Six needed from the last ball, but Maxwell was at the non-striker’s end. Under pressure, Avesh bowled a wide. Bharat scored the winning runs after clearing a full toss over the ropes.

Delhi 164/5 in 20 overs (P Shaw 48, S Dhawan 43; M Siraj 2/25)

Bangalore 166/3 in 20 overs (K S Bharat 78*, G Maxwell 51*; A Nortje 2/24 )

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