IPL 2019 Eliminator: Rishabh Pant blitz against Sunrisers Hyderabad sends Delhi Capitals through

Ajit Vijaykumar 22:35 08/05/2019
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Rishabh Pant hit a match-winning 49. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Delhi Capitals kept their cool in the end to sneak through to a two-wicket win with one-ball remaining against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their IPL Eliminator clash in Vizag on Wednesday.

Hyderabad posted what seemed an above par 162-8. Delhi’s reply was led by young opener Prithvi Shaw who hit 56 off 38 balls. But it was wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant who swung the match decisively in Delhi’s favour with a 21-ball 49 after Khaleel Ahmed and Rashid Khan had both picked up two wickets in an over each.

Despite a late meltdown, Delhi hung on for a two-wicket win and set up a clash with Chennai Super Kings in the second qualifier. It was the first playoff win for Delhi in IPL history.

Collective effort

Sunrisers were lucky to make it to the playoffs; they were the first team to make it this far with just 12 points from the league stage. But on the big day, Hyderabad batsmen put in a collective effort.

Five of the first six batsman scored at least 20, which was good in the sense that at least they all got starts. But the other way to look at it is no Sunrisers batsman converted his start, with Manish Pandey (30 off 36 balls) captain Kane Williamson (28 off 27) not particularly quick with their scoring either. Vijay Shankar’s 11-ball 25 and Mohammad Nabi’s 20 off 13 allowed Sunrisers to take 58 runs from the last five overs.

Ishant rises to the challenge

Delhi have been forced to manage the business end of the IPL without their pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada who is out with a back niggle. In his absence, Ishant Sharma has taken the additional responsibility with aplomb.

After failing to pick up a wicket in four out of five games at one point – even as he maintained a good economy rate – Ishant hit back with five wickets in three games heading into the Eliminator.

On Wednesday, the lanky quick dismissed opener Wriddhiman Saha before accounting  for captain Williamson with the ball of the day – a yorker at 90mph aimed at the base of the off-stump which found its target.

He came, he Shaw, he conquered… almost

Batting was only going to get tougher on a bone-dry Vizag pitch. Sensing it, Delhi opener Shaw put pedal to the metal. The diminutive opener went after the most experienced Hyderabad bowler – Bhuvneshwar Kumar – and hit him for two fours and a six in three balls with the ramp shot over third man for a maximum a treat to watch.

But at the other end, batsmen were struggling for timing on a slowing pitch. Shikhar Dhawan was stumped down the leg side as the asking rate started to climb.

Double trouble

Khaleel Ahmed picked up two wickets in one over. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Khaleel Ahmed picked up two wickets in one over. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Left-arm seamer Khaleel split the game wide open in the 11th over by first getting captain Shreyas Iyer edge a lifter behind before getting the dangerous Shaw for 56 with a short ball. Delhi had lost three wickets and the noose began to tighten.

Delhi tried to keep star leg-spinner Rashid Khan at bay but in his last over, the Afghan ace turned the match on its head by first trapping Colin Munro lbw and then forcing Axar Patel to glove behind in a double-wicket maiden to make it 111-5 after 15.

Pant then took the game by the scruff of the neck, smashing five sixes en route to a 21-ball 49. He had the game in the bag but another rush of blood in the penultimate over saw him hole out in the deep with just five needed.

Panic set in thereafter as Amit Mishra was run out in the final over bowled by Khaleel for obstructing the field. But Keemo Paul smashed the penultimate ball for a boundary towards midwicket to secure a clash against Chennai.

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