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

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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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IPL 2019 LIVE: Lucky qualifiers Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Delhi Capitals

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Shikhar Dhawan. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Sunrisers Hyderabad won just six games during the IPL’s regular season, but have a chance to win it all – should they beat Delhi Capitals in Visakhapatnam tonight.

Hyderabad’s task is even more problematic given that star opening duo Jonny Bairstow and David Warner are busy preparing for the World Cup, although Delhi are nursing a wound of their own having lost pace ace Kagiso Rabada to injury.

There are still plenty of stars on show including Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Kane Williamson and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Who will prevail? Follow our live ball-by-ball updates below …

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IPL 2019: Rahul Chahar, Riyan Parag and other Indian youngsters who have impressed

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Rahul Chahar is having a breakthrough campaign. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) is now hurtling towards its conclusion with the play-off clashes on in full flow.

The T20 franchise competition has developed a reputation of producing future stars for India over the course of its existence and the 2019 edition is proving to be no different.

Here, we take a look at five Indian youngsters who have caught the eye with their displays in the ongoing IPL 2019 campaign.

NAVDEEP SAINI – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Despite what was another disappointing campaign for Virat Kohli and his Royal Challengers Bangalore side, young Navdeep Saini managed to carve a name for himself.

The young Karnal-born pacer had an excellent domestic season for Delhi last year in the Ranji Trophy and he has now carried over that form into his maiden IPL stint with RCB. In 13 matches for Bangalore, Saini picked up 11 wickets but it was the pace at which he bowled at that grabbed eyeballs.

Despite playing most of his matches on a flat batting track at Bengaluru, Saini still managed to maintain a more than decent economy-rate of 8.27. It is only a matter of time before Saini makes his India bow and his maiden IPL campaign will have only bolstered those chances.

A promising debut campaign from the RCB pacer. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

A promising debut campaign from the RCB pacer. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

KHALEEL AHMED – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

The left-armed pacer made just one appearance for SRH in 2018 despite going on to have a breakthrough year for India in international cricket.

However, the disappointment of missing out on India’s 2019 World Cup squad seems to have spurred the youngster to even greater heights with his 2019 IPL campaign turning out to a fine one.

Having had to bide his time on the bench early on in the season, Khaleel has now established himself as SRH’s greatest pace threat with 17 wickets in just eight appearances.

The 21-year-old has been picking up wickets left, right and centre in the powerplay as well as the death overs. A strike-rate of just over 11 and an economy-rate of only 8.21 adds further gloss to Khaleel’s excellent numbers and he will be desperate to add to his tally in the play-offs for Hyderabad.

SHUBMAN GILL – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

For young Shubman Gill, it was the second IPL campaign after he burst on to the big stage with his displays for India in the ICC U19 World Cup last year.

The right-handed batsman had an indifferent start to his 2019 IPL campaign with Kolkata Knight Riders but soon found his groove after being promoted up the batting order.

In 14 matches for KKR this year, Gill scored 286 runs at a healthy batting average of nearly 33 while registering three half-centuries as well. While his India U19 team-mate Prithvi Shaw has already created waves in senior international cricket, Gill has had to bide his time on the sidelines.

On the evidence of his 2019 IPL showings, a maiden India call up cannot be too far off.

Gill outperformed Shaw in IPL 2019. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Gill outperformed Shaw in IPL 2019. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

RIYAN PARAG – RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Amidst an IPL campaign to forget for Rajasthan Royals, there was a silver lining in the form of Riyan Parag’s emergence.

The Assam-born teenager showed plenty of gumption and fight in his displays for the franchise in a record-breaking debut IPL campaign.

The 17-year-old became the youngest half-centurion in IPL history when he scored 50 against Delhi Capitals and his 47-run knock against KKR was instrumental in keeping Rajasthan’s faint play-off hopes alive.

Parag also picked up two wickets with his part-time off spin and was a lively figure on the field for Rajasthan. The teenager could definitely be a promising limited-overs talent for India in the future if moulded the right way and it will be interesting to see how he develops from this point on.

The youngest ever IPL half-centurion. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

The youngest ever IPL half-centurion. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

RAHUL CHAHAR – MUMBAI INDIANS

While Saini, Gill and Parag have shown plenty of promise, it has been Mumbai Indians’ leg-spinner Rahul Chahar who has been the undisputed young find of the tournament.

The 19-year-old Rajasthan-born leggie displaced last year’s Mumbai favourite Mayank Markande from the playing XI with some exceptional displays where he showed great maturity for a teenager.

Chahar has so far picked up 12 wickets in his as many matches with his latest display being a match-winning 2-14 against Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier. Along with his wickets, the leg-spinner has also been extremely hard to score runs off with his economy-rate hovering around 6.80 mark.

He has everything in his armoury including a lethal googly and top-spinner but it is the confidence with which Chahar has approached his debut IPL campaign that has won him many admirers.

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