Dubai hosted match number 19 of IPL 2020 as two evenly matched teams - Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore - clashed for a chance at topping the points table.
Winning the toss, Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli opted to field and was made to regret the decision instantly as Prithvi Shaw began laying into the Challengers’ bowlers, ably supported by Shikhar Dhawan at the other end.
The duo set up their team’s best powerplay outing this season, scoring 63 runs.
Shaw and Dhawan didn’t spare any of the opposition bowlers, even when Kohli brought on his best in Yuzvendra Chahal. The only Bangalore bowler who managed to keep things relatively quiet was birthday boy Washington Sundar.
Delhi lost a flurry of wickets after the powerplay. Big hitting Shaw fell first - out for 42 off 23 balls to Mohammed Siraj in the 7th over.
3 overs later, Isuru Udana accounted for Dhawan who was searching for a big hit - the opener falling for 32 off 28 balls.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer failed to get going as he usually does and was sent back to the pavilion by Moeen Ali for an uncharacteristic 11 off 13 balls - Delhi 90/3 after 11.3 overs.
As the runs became slower to come and the boundaries dried up, it looked as though Delhi had lost the momentum built by the openers.
But that’s when Marcus Stoinis and Rishabh Pant took charge. Pant was quieter of the two and took some time to find his feet.
In contrast, Stoinis began smacking the Bangalore bowlers around the park soon after he came to the crease.
Luck shone on Stoinis through the night with the batsman surviving three possible dismissals - a return catch slipping through Chahal’s hands when he was on 3, a catch put down by Chahal off Navdeep Saini when he was on 30 and a missed run out when he was on 45.
Delhi lost Pant in the 19th over for 37 off 25 balls but Stoinis’ brilliant 53 off 26 balls, with two sixes and six fours propelled Delhi to a good total of 196/4 in 20 overs. Delhi Capitals amassing 94 runs off the last 7 overs.
Clever captaincy by Iyer saw Ravichandra Ashwin come on for some off-spin in the 3rd over itself and the experienced bowler delivered immediately with the wicket of the in-form Devdutt Padikkal who showed his inexperience by charging down the wicket and ending up getting out for just 4 runs.
The next over saw Axar Patel weave his magic and dismiss Aaron Finch for 13 - Bangalore in all kinds of trouble at 27/2 after 4 overs.
If Bangalore fans had their hopes pinned on Kohli and AB de Villiers leading a recovery, they were to be sorely disappointed as Delhi pacer Anrich Nortje dismissed his countryman for 9 runs in the 6th over.
Moeen Ali, Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube all failed to cross 20, with Kagiso Rabada and Patel accounting for the entire middle order.
Kohli was the only one who showed some semblance of form, making 43 off 39 balls but Bangalore needed a much bigger innings from their skipper if they were to have a chance at Delhi’s sizeable total.
Rabada’s fantastic figures of 4/24 and Axar Patel’s economical 2/18 in 4 overs meant that Bangalore managed just 137/9 in their 20 overs, handing Delhi a 59-run win, their fourth victory in five games and the top spot in the IPL 2020 points table.
Patel was named Man of the Match.