Our hope of making the IPL playoffs for the third season on the trot was dealt a heavy blow on Tuesday as we lost to Delhi Capitals by 19 runs at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Choosing to bowl first, we managed to restrict DC to 208/4 - the lowest first innings score at the venue in IPL 2024 this season. Our chase, though, fell 19 runs short despite fighting half-centuries by Nicholas Pooran and Arshad Khan.

The loss keeps us seventh with 12 points from 13 games. Though our chances of finishing in the top four are slim at best after today’s result, we are still mathematically alive in the playoff race.

Our bowlers restrict DC on batting paradise

Electing to bowl first, we struck in the very first over. Arshad Khan, drafted into the starting XI for the crucial clash, gave us a massive breakthrough as the in-form Jake Fraser-McGurk walked back without troubling the scorers.

Abishek Porel (58 off 33) and Shai Hope (38 off 27), however, joined forces out in the middle and helped DC to 73/1 in the powerplay.

It took a wiley Ravi Bishnoi and a brilliant diving catch by skipper KL Rahul to dismiss Hope and break the 92-run stand. Naveen ul-Haq also chipped in in a big way and got rid of Porel, who was looking dangerous out in the middle.

Rishabh Pant (33 off 23) and Tristan Stubbs took DC past 150 before Naveen struck for the second time on the night to get rid of the Delhi skipper.

Stubbs, however, completed his 50 and along with Axar Patel (14 off 10), took the home team to a total of 208/4 in 20 overs - the lowest first innings score at the venue this season.

Mohsin Khan, despite going wicketless, did fantastically to curb the Delhi batters on what has been the best batting wicket in the IPL this season. 

Khan finished with 0/29 in his four overs while Bishnoi, too, bowled out his quota of four with miserly figures of 1/26.

Pooran-Arshad’s heroics not enough

Our chase didn’t get off to the best of starts with Rahul departing in the first over.

Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis, too, followed shortly and we found ourselves reeling at 24/3.

While wickets tumbled at the other end, Nicholas Pooran put up a valiant resistance. Nicky P made his intent clear from the get go, picking up 20 runs off Axar Patel in the first deliveries he faced on the night.

The Windies ace went berserk and kept us hoping. However, a brilliant catch by Axar saw Pooran walk back after scoring a rapid 61 off just 27 balls. His innings featured six fours and four maximums.

At 101/6 after 11.1 overs and having lost Nicky P, we seemed to have our backs against the wall. Krunal Pandya, too, departed after a run-a-ball 18 and we were left with 75 to get off just 32 balls. With only three wickets in hand, not many would have given us a chance to make a match out of it.

But we guess no one told Arshad Khan that.

Arshad, who had scored just 43 runs in eight IPL matches with the bat heading into today’s contest, looked like a man possessed. He raced to his 50 in just 25 balls and left us with 29 to get off the final two overs.

Unfortunately, though, our chase fell short by 19 runs in the end.

What next for the Super Giants?

We will face Mumbai Indians in our final league stage match of the season on Friday.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 208/4 in 20 overs (Abishek Porel 58, Naveen ul-Haq 2/51) beat Lucknow Super Giants 189/9 in 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 61; Ishant Sharma 3/34) by 19 runs.