Delhi Capitals climbed to the top of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) table after seeing off Rajasthan Royals in a closely fought contest at Jaipur on Monday.
Shreyas Iyer’s men chased down a challenging total of 191 runs thanks to an inspirational performance from Rishabh Pant who scored a quick-fire 78 off just 36 balls.
Rajasthan captain Steve Smith was unhappy with how his team batted in the death and felt that his middle-order batsmen could have added some more crucial runs on the board.
The Australian spoke in admiration of Pant, who practically stole the game from under their noses.
“We thought we didn’t finish off well with the bat, they pulled things back with (Kagiso) Rabada in the death overs. We couldn’t quite get hold of their bowlers. The wicket played well throughout, one of the best in the tournament,” said Smith.
“They took our bowlers on in the powerplay and Shikhar (Dhawan) played a magnificent knock. Pant is a young lad and he did a terrific job as well.
“It’s always hard for the bowlers with the dew around. The wicket stayed the same throughout the 40 overs. You can try and get wickets with your best bowlers or keep them for the death overs. Delhi did that well with Rabada but for us (Jofra) Archer has bowled well for us throughout the tournament.”
Delhi’s young captain Iyer was delighted with the positive team atmosphere following a run of five wins in their last six matches and was full of praise for Pant staying unbeaten until the very end to finish the job.
“We are happy with our team is going. The positivity is spreading in the camp. We knew Royals are going to go all-out. Wicket was a belter and the way they started we thought they will score 200. (Ajinkya) Rahane batted brilliantly. Our bowlers contained well to restrict Royals,” Iyer explained.
“Ricky (Ponting) tells us that batsman who get starts should bat for a long time. Rishabh took that initiative and batted till the end. In the previous match, I was there till the end and Shikhar (Dhawan) did it too in one match,” he added.
Man-of-the-match Pant was delighted to have helped his team climb to the top of the table with what was only his second fifty of the 2019 IPL campaign.
“I am feeling lovely. To make your team win in an important match is a good feeling. I won’t lie, the (India World Cup squad) selection thought was running in my mind,” a visibly delighted Pant remarked.
“I focused on my process, I trusted my prowess and it worked for me. I knew how wicket was behaving and I took advantage of that. The most important things for our team is that everyone needs their role and we try to keep it simple.”
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