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Know the IPL Stadium | Dharamsala Cricket Stadium - History, Ground Stats, Best IPL Match

image-lhu9654bHimachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala, India (Source: Twitter)

Punjab Kings (PBKS) will be taking on the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the 66th match of the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023). The stage for the game is set as it will be the battle for the existence of the two teams. The loser of the match immediately walks out of the tournament, while the winner will still have a chance to qualify, depending on the margin of the result. 

The picturesque Dharamsala or the HPCA will be hosting this all-important match. We have already witnessed a game at this venue in IPL 2023, where Punjab Kings faced off against the Delhi Capitals. However, in this article, we will be taking a sneak peek into the venue's history, the important numbers here and the best IPL match that have been played here so far. 

History of Dharamsala Cricket Ground

After being elected as the fourth president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), Mr Anurag Singh Thakur faced a situation where the state lagged in many aspects of leaving an impact on cricket. Facilities and infrastructure were scarce in the state, with only one cricket stadium, the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Una. 

Anurag Singh decided it was time the state had an international-level stadium and took the initiative to build one. The location for this stadium was decided to be Dharamsala; with its scenic beauty, Dharamsala was already a paradise for the trekkers and was home to his holiness, Dalai Lama.

Thus in 2003, came into being one of the world's most picturesque cricket stadiums at Dharamsala, at a height of 1,457 metres above sea level and amidst the Dhauladhar mountain range in Kangra Valley.

Matches at the Dharamsala Cricket Ground

The Dharamsala Cricket Stadium has been a host to a single Test match, 4 ODIs and 11 T20 Matches. The venue has also been a host to 10 IPL Matches, the latest of which was between the Punjab Kings and the Delhi Capitals in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023). 

First ODI Match: India vs England, 5th ODI -  27th January, 2013

First and Only Test Match: India vs Australia, 4th Test - 25th March, 2017

First T20I Match: India vs South Africa, 1st T20I - 2nd October, 2015

IPL Stats at the Dharamsala Cricket Ground

Let us take a look at the important stats of the ground related to the upcoming match between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals.

Matches: 10
Matches won batting first: 6
Matches won batting second: 4

Average first innings total: 179
Average second innings total: 151

Highest first innings score: 232/2 by Punjab Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2011
Highest second innings score: 116/10 by Punjab Kings vs Deccan Chargers, IPL 2011

Best IPL Match at the Dharamsala Cricket Ground

PBKS vs CSK, IPL 2010

This was the 54th match of IPL 2010 as the Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) took on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). A place in the playoffs was at stake for CSK, and after winning the toss, skipper MS Dhoni decided to chase the target. 

image-lhu9cuukMS Dhoni with Albie Morkel after finishing off the match against KXIP in IPL 2010 (Source: Twitter)

The Punjab Kings got off to a flying start as Mahela Jayawardene played a fiery cameo at the top (21 off 8). The start given by Jayawardene was capitalised on by Shaun Marsh (88 off 57) and Kumar Sangakkara (33 off 24), as they solidified the team's position. Irfan Pathan provided the finishing touch scoring 44 runs off 27 balls, and helped PBKS to a massive total of 192 runs for the loss of three wickets in 20 overs. 

With a stellar task at hand, CSK had the worst possible start. They were 27 for two down within the first four overs, and the hopes of the team making it to the final four seemed slim. But Suresh Raina (46 off 27) and S Badrinath (53 off 36) steadied the proceedings for CSK and got them closer to the target.

It was 89 for 3 in 9.4 overs when MSD walked out into the crease and played one of his best knocks in the IPL. He went about his business as usual, taking the right amount of risks at the proper stages and taking the game deep. In the last over, the task was 18 runs to win the match, and Irfan Pathan was entrusted with bowing this over. Dhoni slammed a boundary of the first ball and eased the pressure a bit. He followed it up with a couple, then hit two humungous sixes and finished things in his usual style, thus winning the match for CSK and ensuring their qualification into the playoffs. 

The importance of the innings lies in the fact that CSK later went on to win the tournament and lift their maiden IPL trophy.

Brief Score of KXIP vs CSK, Match 54 - IPL 2010

KXIP - 192/ 3 (20 Overs)
Shaun Marsh - 88 (57), Irfan Pathan - 44* (27)
Ravichandran Aswhin - 1/20 (4 Overs)

CSK - 195/4 (19.4 Overs)
MS Dhoni - 54* (29), S Badrinath - 53 (36)
Romesh Powar - 2/28 (4 Overs)