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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