From Warner-Esque Shots to Power Hitting
His takedown of spin made the difference between the two sides since the ball gripped and turned far more than it does in T20s.
On Saturday night, David Warner scored a half-century off just 23 balls but was denied the opportunity to execute the play’s most Warner-like move.
Instead, Prabhsimran Singh delivered that drive, putting Axar Patel past the point boundary with a proper switch stroke in which the hands switched places on the bat handle.
This Warner-esque shot was a part of Prabhsimran’s Warner-esque performance. Warner has accomplished this feat five times in full T20 innings where the side has played all 20 overs or has been bowled out, which is a relatively uncommon achievement for hitters.
Prabhsimran added his name to that list a second time on Saturday.
He accomplished this feat for Punjab against Goa in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in November 2021, striking 119 off 61 balls for a total of 197 for 4 in the match. Shubman Gill, his opening partner that day, got 40 points off 36.
On a field that gripped and spun far more than typical T20 tracks, Prabhsimran hit 103 off 65 balls for Punjab Kings on Saturday against Delhi Capitals, helping them reach their total of 167 for 7.
On that pitch, Prabhsimran was totally by himself. He faced 39 of the 120 spinners’ bowling attempts during the game, scoring 53 runs without getting removed. The remaining 81 balls were confronted by 12 hitters, who scored 65 runs for 9 outs.
Of course, T20 results are subject to some degree of chance. On any given day, one hitter may endure several plays-and-misses, have numerous mishits evade fielders and score 80 runs, while three other batters may be removed after their first faulty shot.
However, Prabhsimran has shown to be effective against spin over the whole season. He is one of 15 hitters with 150 or more strike rates after facing at least 50 spinner balls, and he has the highest average (123.00) of all 15 players despite only being ejected once in 77 balls.
Only seven of these 15 batters—including Prabhsimran—have also attained 150 or more strike rates against pace using the same 50-ball cutoff. He has been ejected significantly more frequently when playing against the clock, 11 times for an average of 19.18, yet he is just 22.
Prabhsimran’s century on Saturday was an excellent example of all sides of his game.
His first boundary, an attempted leg-side heave off Khaleel Ahmed that ended up as a top edge over short third, perfectly captured his sense of urgency versus pace and the Kings’ deliberate effort to optimise their powerplay returns. They appeared to be aware that scoring would become more difficult as the ball became older and the fields widened, so they worked especially hard on the powerplay, even moving their two most potent middle-order hitters, Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma, up to the Nos. 3 and 4 positions.
On this particular day, the front-loading failed, as the Kings lost three wickets during the powerplay. After that, it appeared impossible to escape either, as the spinners caught Prabhsimran and Sam Curran in the early middle overs. Kings were 66 for 3 at the midway stage of their innings, and Prabhsimran had 27 off 31.
The entrance of Mitchell Marsh by the Capitals served as the spark that ignited Prabhsimran at this time. On this surface, it is understandable why Capitals may have believed Marsh’s medium-paced cutters would be effective. Still, on this particular day, they merely sat up and allowed Prabhsimran to swat over the on side. He hit two sixes and a four in the air that over, giving Kings unexpected momentum.
Prabhsimran Singh’s Dominance
However, Prabhsimran’s most outstanding performance on this surface came against the spinners, who he struck at 136.67. Prabhsimran would score 50 off 26 balls against the faster bowlers at a strike rate of just over 192. Many batters find it challenging to achieve so rapidly while facing spin on accurate pitches; he played within himself when he attained that strike rate.
Six off was the switch hit. Although Axar’s shot on the powerplay may have appeared bold, it was somewhat logical, given the situation. In the fourth over, Axar ripped his first pitch of the game past Prabhsimran’s outside edge, and the batsman appeared to determine at that moment that he would not play against the turn unless the bowler dipped short or the ball was thrown right up. The switch strike provided a means of locating the border within these artificial limitations. He attempted the same stroke for the next ball but failed to centre it.
Prabhsimran, later in his innings, demonstrated another aspect of his game, the capacity to produce significant power from a low, broad base. In the 14th over, he sunk low onto his back knee and slog-swept Kuldeep Yadav over midwicket – he was targeting the more extended square boundary on the ground, and he cleared it with ease with a hit measuring 91 metres.
Praveen Dubey, a legspinner, delivered one outside of his arc in the following over. He then dropped to one knee and used a dead-straight flat-bat stroke to send the ball hurtling 90 yards into the stands. While Prabhsimran was retrieving the ball from well beyond his vision, he eliminated any potential that it might skew off the top edge by squatting low and striking the ball with a closed bat face.
Dew or No Dew, Prabhsimran Shines on a Challenging Pitch
These smashes were a part of Prabhsimran’s innings’ spectacular finale, which saw him score 76 runs off his final 34 balls. You couldn’t help but wonder if he was defying the weather or if the pitch was loosening up as you watched.
This game was expected to follow the pattern of other games played in Delhi this season when dew would settle in and make things easier for the pursuing team. The chasing team prevailed in four of the previous five games played here, while Sunrisers Hyderabad’s season-high 197 for 6 was the only occasion a side successfully defended a total.
Warner and Phil Salt put up 69 for the first wicket in just 6.2 overs, giving the Capitals’ pursuit on Saturday an early appearance like it will follow a similar pattern.
But as Harpreet Brar ended the partnership, it was clear that dew or no dew, this was still very much a spinner’s surface. While wickets sometimes fall in groups during T20 matches on various characters, the batters had trouble connecting with the ball on this one, with Rahul Chahar particularly seeing worrying degrees of spin. The Capitals lost six wickets for 19 runs in 24 legal balls.
This surface may have been even more complex than the one Prabhsimran had batted on, but a pitch can only change a little during a T20 match. It might have been more challenging to hit in the second inning, but it would never be easy. After then, the Capitals’ collapse reinforced how impressive Prabhsimran’s performance had been.
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