Delhi Capitals took a thrilling opening win in the 2020 IPL after beating Kings XI Punjab via a super over in Dubai.
Marcus Stoinis, in normal time, and Kagiso Rabada, in the tiebreaker, were the heroes as the exciting young side from India’s capital eventually downed Punjab.
The victory was overshadowed, though, by injury to Ravichandran Ashwin, Delhi’s high-profile new signing.
The India spinner had just taken two wickets on debut after his off-season transfer between these two sides, to put Delhi into a strong position to push for the win.
He had to be helped from the field immediately after his first over, though, after suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder. It happened as he made an innocuous dive to try to prevent a run off the final ball he bowled.
As he fell on the hard wicket block, his left shoulder appeared to jar.
He winced in pain, and he was helped away from the field by Delhi’s head physio Patrick Farhart, with the lower part of his shirt folded over his arm as a makeshift sling.
Ashwin watched from the dressing room with his shoulder iced, and his arm in a more customary medical sling, as the game reached its extraordinary climax.
Punjab first appeared to have the game won with the ball, as they dominated the first 14 overs. At that point, though, Stoinis took over.
The burly Australian blazed 53 in 21 deliveries to entirely alter the complexion of the game at the Dubai International Stadium.
Just after he had arrived at the wicket, they were 87-5 at the start of the 15th over.
Yet he muscled them to 157-8 by the end, as Delhi made 57 from the last three overs, including 30 from the last, bowled by Chris Jordan.
“It was handy,” Stoinis said of the finish during a stilted, socially distanced TV interview between innings.
“That can happen in cricket. You are trying to read what the bowler is trying to do and what the other captain is trying to do.”
In reply, all of Punjab’s star men – KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell among them – came and went cheaply.
But Mayank Agarwal, their Indian international opener, took them to the brink of victory with a stunning knock worth 89 from 60 balls.
He fell with the job all but done: scores level with two balls left. Jordan, though, was caught off the last delivery, as the game finished in a tie.
Delhi must have felt like they had won the game – and lost it – many times over already.
But Rabada made sure the points went their way in the end, dismissing Rahul and Pooran in successive balls as Punjab made just two in the extra over.
Delhi overhauled that within just two balls when they had their turn.