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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Salt hits 87 as Delhi rout Bangalore

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NEW DELHI: England's Phil Salt hit a blazing 87 to power Delhi Capitals to a thumping seven-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League on Saturday and ruin superstar Virat Kohli's return to his home city.


Salt struck his second half-century in his debut IPL season to steer Delhi's chase of 182 as the home team won with 20 balls to spare at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.


Salt, a wicketkeeper-batsman, began with a 60-run stand with skipper David Warner, who hit 22, and then put together 59 runs with Mitchell Marsh, who smashed 26.


"It's the first time a lot of people would have seen me bat. Lot of Indian fans probably watching me for the first time if they don't watch other competitions," Salt, who has represented England in 30 white-ball matches since 2021, told reporters after his man of the match performance.


"I feel like my goal ever since the auction was come here and win games, challenge myself among the best in the world, because realistically we know this is the best domestic league in the world."


The batting effort trumped Virat Kohli's 55 and an unbeaten 54 by Mahipal Lomror which helped Bangalore to 181-4 after electing to bat first.


Salt got into a mid-pitch exchange with opposition pace bowler Mohammed Siraj and the verbal duel only spurred him to finish with six sixes in his 45-ball knock.


"Satisfied with the knock. Obviously there was a little bit of needle," Salt said on his exchange with Siraj.


"Their boys were up when we were in Bangalore for the last game, so a lot of the pre-match chat was getting our chests out and crossing the line and ready to take it to them."


Leg-spinner Karn Sharma bowled Salt before Rilee Rossouw hit an unbeaten 35 off 22 balls and sealed the match with a six.


Delhi, who started the season with five losses, moved up from the bottom to ninth in the 10-team table with slim chances of making the top four for a place in the play-offs.


Delhi's South African import Anrich Nortje missed the match after he flew back home late on Friday due to a "personal emergency".


The spotlight remained on the Delhi-born Kohli as the former captain set foot on the ground in front of a capacity crowd, mostly wearing the star's Bangalore jersey.


His every run was cheered and the superstar, who was playing his first game after an ugly spat with Lucknow mentor Gautam Gambhir, obliged the fans with his fifth half-century of the season.


In-form skipper Faf Du Plessis, who consolidated his top spot in the batting chart with 511 runs, put on an 82-run opening stand with Kohli.


But it was Lomror who set the Bangalore innings on fire with his blitz after Mitchell Marsh sent back Du Plessis, for 45, and Glenn Maxwell, for a first-ball duck. -- AFP


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