IPL 2019: Mumbai crumble under Pant assault as Delhi open campaign with fine win

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Pant was the architect of Delhi's win. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Rejigged Delhi Capitals made a wining start to their 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with an impressive 37-run win over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.

Delhi looked irresistible with the bat with Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 78 (27) helping them score a daunting 213-6 before a disciplined bowling display saw them restrict the hosts to 176.

Sixes rained down in abundance at the Wankhede in the second match of IPL’s Sunday double-header with Delhi’s victory being their third on the bounce against Mumbai.

PANT MAKES WORLD CUP CASE

Having been on the fringes of India’s ODI setup, the pressure was on Rishabh Pant coming into the IPL with time running out for him to stake a claim for a World Cup spot. The youngster wasted no time in getting back to IPL mode and started off exactly from where he finished last year with an 18-ball half-century.

The young left-hander showed once again how destructive his bottom hand can be with some outrageous shots all around the Wankhede.

The southpaw mixed aggression with audacity as he dispatched his India team-mate Jasprit Bumrah to all parts of the ground in the death overs. It was his ridiculous hitting that helped Delhi breach the 200-run mark with ease in the end.

Delhi coach Ricky Ponting and advisor Sourav Ganguly have already backed Pant to take the No4 spot for India in the World Cup. On the basis of his innings on Sunday, Virat Kohli would agree.

YUVRAJ LEFT TO FIGHT LONE BATTLE FOR MUMBAI

Mumbai needed to pull off the highest successful run chase at the Wankhede but their cause wasn’t helped by wickets falling at regular intervals.

Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya had good starts but were unable to play the big innings for Mumbai. It was veteran Yuvraj Singh who put his hands up on his Mumbai debut with the left-hander waging a lone battle with the bat.

Having looked completely out of touch in the 2018 edition with Kings XI Punjab, Yuvraj looked closer to his best. The 37-year-old made a 33-ball half-century to give the hosts a glimmer of hope with his dismissal in the penultimate ending Mumbai’s resistance.

Yuvraj’s innings contained five boundaries and three sixes with the veteran showing there is still some life left in those old legs.

While it might have been a loss in the end for the three-time IPL champions, Yuvraj turning back the clock bodes well for both the franchise and the former India batsman moving forward.

DHAWAN ADDITION A MASTERSTROKE

Delhi’s IPL 2018 campaign might have ended with the wooden spoon but never in dispute was the immense potential in the squad. With the likes of Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw present in the squad, Delhi already had the cream of India’s future batting stars.

By bringing back local boys Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma, the team management has complemented the young core with much-needed experience and it paid off on Sunday.

Dhawan anchored the innings perfectly for the visitors after opening the batting and the solid platform he set up was what allowed Pant to break free in the death overs. 43 off 36 balls might not scream T20 cricket at its best but the India stalwart’s ability to hold one end up might just be what Delhi’s young stars need to play their natural games.

Meanwhile, Ishant was excellent with the new ball and picked up the important wickets of Mumbai openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock on his return to the IPL after a one-year absence.

BRIEF SCORES

Delhi Capitals: 213-6

Rishabh Pant: 78 not out (27)

Colin Ingram: 47 (32)

Mumbai Indians: 176

Yuvraj Singh: 53 (35)

Kagiso Rabada: 2-23

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