Delhi Capitals 159 for 7 (Marsh 63, Sarfaraz 32, Livingstone 3-27) beat Punjab Kings 142 for 9 (Jitesh 44, Thakur 4-36, Axar 2-14, Kuldeep 2-14) by 17 runs
Liam Livingstone is a fearsome six-hitter. So he more than most knows which balls can be hit into orbit, and which can’t be. That little bit of insight becomes his greatest strength when he indulges in his second skill. Right-arm all-sorts.
David Warner, who insisted on taking first strike only after seeing Livingstone coming on to bowl, was caught at point first ball.
Rishabh Pant was stumped right after he hit a six.
Both of those dismissals involved Livingstone understanding the fact that a power-hitter’s best asset is a strong base. Deny that by hiding the ball out of their reach and your chances of success increase.
Normally that is a tactic to restrict runs. Here it became wicket-taking because a) ego – Capitals just couldn’t resist taking Livingstone down and b) the pitch was slow and low so powering the ball away like they were all trying to do wasn’t really an option.
The big hitter
Marsh was 32 off 26 at the halfway stage. When someone of his quality is tied down like that, you know the pitch isn’t great for scoring.
So he decided to play the long game. To bide his time. To wait for the death overs which often tend to be a bit of a lottery. Edges go for sixes. Bowlers panic and miss their lengths.
He came into the 17th over on 47 off 37. At the end of the 18th, he was 63 off 46. These were exactly the wrong conditions for him – the ball barely bouncing, or coming onto the bat – but he played it really well.
Marsh barely even tried hitting the spinners. Instead, he focused all of his aggression where it could actually pay off. On Arshdeep Singh (19 off 8, SR 237.50) and Kagiso Rabada (16 off 9, SR 177.77).
It was beautiful, calculated, gutsy batting and as a result Capitals, who were 112 for 5 in the 14th over, got up to 159 for 7.
For a man who had so much success baiting big hitters into his trap, Livingstone fell into one hook, line and sinker.
In the eighth over, when the game was on his shoulders after the openers and the captain had fallen, he charged down the track to perhaps the Capitals’ best bowler – Kuldeep Yadav – and was completely done in by the googly.
At the fall of Livingstone’s wicket, ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster gave Kings an 18% chance of winning the game. Just one ball before that, it was 46%.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo