IPL 2019: Rishabh Pant knocks Rajasthan Royals out, raises Delhi Capitals' Qualifier 1 hopes

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A fine half-century from Rishabh Pant complimented Delhi Capitals‘ excellent bowling display as they moved into second place in the 2019 Indian Premier League standings after beating Rajasthan Royals by five wickets on Saturday.

The Royals won the toss and elected to bat at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium but a fine opening spell from Ishant Sharma put them on the back foot as they were only able to post 115/9 in their 20 overs. The seamer ran through the top order, dismissing Ajinkya Rahane, Liam Livingstone and Mahipal Lomror to finish with figures of 3-38.

With the in-form Sanju Samson runout by Prithvi Shaw after a mix-up with Lomror, only 17-year-old Riyan Parag managed to put up a fight for the visitors as wickets continued to fall around him. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was responsible for the middle order collapse as his superb spell of 3-17 took care of Shreyas Gopal and Stuart Binny in successive balls but should’ve also been credited with a hat-trick.

He tossed up a wrong ‘un to Krishnappa Gowtham who top edged a slog sweep but Trent Boult dropped the catch which would’ve handed Mishra his third hat-trick in IPL history. He did eventually dismiss the Royals all-rounder in his next over with Ishant taking the catch at long off.

Parag offered some resistance and anchored the innings before accelerating towards the end, hitting Ishant’s final over for 18 runs. With two sixes and four boundaries, young all-rounder reached 50 off 49 deliveries – becoming the youngest player in IPL history to score a half-century – but fell in the final over to Boult.

With Delhi requiring less than a run a ball, Rahane introduced spin early and Ish Sodhi dismissed both openers Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan with the first two balls of the fourth over.

Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer continued to score at a good pace but the latter was dismissed by Gopal on 15. With support from Colin Ingram (12) and Sherfane Rutherford (11), Pant was able to help the hosts reach their target with 23 balls to spare.

The wicketkeeper-batsman struck five sixes on his way to an unbeaten 53 off 38 balls to secure victory and eliminate Rajasthan in the process.

Delhi are now in second spot on 18 points with a positive net run of .044. If Mumbai win their final game against Kolkata on Sunday and if Chennai maintain their positive net run rate, Delhi will slip to third position and will be forced to play the Eliminator instead of the Qualifier, which offers teams two shots at making it to the final.

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IPL 2019: Sunrisers Hyderabad have everything to gain against RCB

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SRH skipper Kane Williamson. Image: BCCI/Sportzpics.

The equation will be simple for Sunrisers Hyderabad when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday – win comfortably and make it to the playoffs.

There is just one IPL 2019 playoff spot remaining and Sunrisers are in the best position to make it to the next stage with one game to go for all eight teams.

Sunrisers are on 12 points with Kolkata Knight Riders but enjoy a markedly superior net run rate. If they defeat RCB with relative ease, Kolkata will be unable to overtake their run rate even with a commanding win of their own against Mumbai Indians.

Near miss

Sunrisers had a golden chance in their game against Mumbai to jump to 14 points but lost the tense  eliminator  thanks to Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliance. Even so, they will fancy their chances against Bangalore who are pretty much in freefall.

Virat Kohli has talked about playing with freedom but the fact is RCB are clueless about the way forward as Kohli has proven to be a failure as captain when it comes to IPL cricket for the best part of a decade.

Bangalore’s weak pace attack offers a great chance for Sunrisers’ batting line-up – missing David Warner and Jonny Bairstow – to dig in. Hyderabad don’t have many big names in the batting line-up anymore but it’s too late to fret over it.

Hetmyer back?

Hetmyer is having a maiden IPL to forget. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Hetmyer is having a maiden IPL to forget. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Kings XI Punjab re-invested in Nicholas Pooran and he has come good in the last few games, hitting a couple of 40s. Maybe Bangalore need to revisit having hard-hitting West Indian Shimron Hetmyer in the XI even though the southpaw had a disastrous start to life in IPL. Anyhow, what’s there to lose?

Likely XIs

SRH: Martin Guptill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed

RCB: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Heinrich Klaasen, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal

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IPL 2019: Shubman Gill anchors comfortable win for KKR v KXIP

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Shubman Gill. Image: BCCI/Sportzpics.

It was a virtual faceoff in the IPL playoff race and Kolkata Knight Riders edged ahead after registering a comfortable win over Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Friday.

Shubman Gill scored an unbeaten fifty as KKR overhauled KXIP’s total of 183-6 with seven wickets and 12 balls in hand.

KKR are now tied with Sunrisers Hyderabad on 12 points but need to win their next game and other results to go their way to qualify. Punjab, however, are most certainly out as they need to beat Chennai by 160 runs and hope Sunrisers lose to RCB by 100 runs.

Warrier strikes early

KKR seamer Sandeep Warrier had a dream opening burst as he accounted for Punjab openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. The seamer first got Rahul with a slower one before snaring Gayle with the go-to ball against him in T20 cricket – short ball.

It was left to the likes of Nicholas Pooran (48), Mayank Agarwal (36) and Mandeep Singh (25) to rebuild the innings. However, the main impetus came right at the end.

Curran tees off

All-rounder Sam Curran is always a reliable bat, even if his seamers might not be so. On Friday, the left-hander showed his full range of strokes as he hit seven fours and two sixes during his 24-ball 55 that took Punjab past 180.

Death overs specialist Harry Gurney bore the brunt of his hitting, getting spanked for three fours and a six off the last four balls of the innings.

Clinical Gill

Kolkata realistically only needed to negotiate Mohammed Shami and Ravi Ashwin as the rest of the Punjab attack of Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin and Curran isn’t the best going around.

KKR youngster Gill has been enjoying his time at the top of the order and he celebrated with his second successive fifty. His short arm jabs through midwicket and late cuts through point stood out as Gill remained unbeaten on 65 off 49 balls with five fours and two sixes.

The rest of the line-up simply needed to give him company, which they did with Chris Lynn (46), Robin Uthappa (22) and Andre Russell (24) doing enough. Captain Dinesh Karthik finished the game with two overs to spare by hitting a 9-ball 21.

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