Delhi Capitals resumed their quest to win the Indian Premier League title with an eight-wicket thrashing of Sunrisers Hyderabad to go top of the table.
The Capitals were at the summit when the tournament was halted in May due to the coronavirus pandemic and returned to the top by making a statement at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Third-placed Sunrisers were rocked by a positive COVID-19 test for bowler T Natarajan ahead of the match, resulting in Vijay Shankar being among a further six members of the franchise to be forced into isolation.
Their day did not get any better in the first game for the two sides since the IPL resumed, with Sunrisers only posting 134-9 as Anrich Nortje (2-12), Axar Patel (2-21) and Kagiso Rabada (3-37) did most of the damage.
Delhi coasted to victory, Shikhar Dhawan - the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 - making 42 off 37 balls at the top of the order to lay the foundations.
The fit-again Shreyas Iyer top scored with 47 from 41 deliveries in his 150th IPL game and captain Rishabh Pant struck an unbeaten 35 off 21 balls as the Capitals moved two points clear of a Chennai Super Kings side who have a game in hand.
Dominant @DelhiCapitals seal a comfortable win!— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) September 22, 2021
The @RishabhPant17-led unit register their 7th win of the #VIVOIPL & move to the top of the Points Table. #DCvSRH
Scorecard https://t.co/15qsacH4y4 pic.twitter.com/5CAkMtmlzu
PROTEAS PACEMEN FIRE
Nortje was recruited by the Capitals after England all-rounder Chris Woakes opted against taking part in the remainder of the tournament.
The South Africa paceman made an instant impact, getting rid of David Warner for a duck with the third ball of the match before trapping Kedar Jadhav lbw.
Nortje bowled 14 dot balls and although his South Africa team-mate Rabada was much more expensive, he removed Wriddhiman Saha, Manish Pandey and Abdul Samad. Axar was also outstanding in an impressive display with the ball from Delhi.
DHAWAN DELIVERS AGAIN, IYER UP AND RUNNING
Dhawan is on a mission not only to claim the title but also win the purple cap and he leads KL Rahul (380) with 422 runs from nine matches after a blistering knock, striking a six and finding the rope six times.
Delhi suffered a blow when all-rounder Marcus Stoinis sustained a hamstring problem in the field, but Iyer gave the Capitals a big boost in his first game of the tournament and a landmark match.
A shoulder injury meant the batsman was unable to play any part before the tournament was halted on home soil and he teamed up with Pant, who succeeded him as captain, in a stand of 67 off 46 deliveries to seal an emphatic win.