IPL 2019: Prithvi Shaw rates Rishabh Pant as a great finisher

Prithvi Shaw lauded team-mate Rishabh Pant, calling him the best finisher among youngsters after the wicketkeeper-batsman helped Delhi Capitals to a thrilling win in IPL Eliminator.

Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw played a crucial role in Delhi Capitals win in the Eliminator.   -  R.V. MOORTHY

Delhi Capitals opener Prithvi Shaw lauded team-mate Rishabh Pant, calling him the best finisher among youngsters after the 21-year-old helped Delhi Capitals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in a thrilling IPL Eliminator here.

Chasing a target of 163, Delhi Capitals, who had lost the way after a blazing start, were brought to the cusp of victory by Pant, who smashed 49 off 21 balls with five sixes even as West Indies’ Keemo Paul finished it off in the penultimate ball of the innings with a boundary off Khaleel Ahmed on Wednesday night.

“In these T20 games, there’s a lot of pressure. I was praying that we win. Pant did a brilliant job. I have said that he is the best finisher among the young players. He always opens up the game for us. He has been doing very well. Unfortunately, he could not finish it for us, but Keemo did well in the end,” Shaw said at the post match press conference.

Read: Pant's whirlwind 49 powers Delhi Capitals into qualifier meeting with CSK

The 19-year-old said it was important for him to get back into form after a few bad games. Shaw top-scored with 56 off 38 balls on a “sticky wicket” to give Delhi a great start.

“First six overs are important because if you put runs on board, it will take the pressure off the other batsmen. It was a bit difficult to pull the ball. Since their bowlers were bowling cutters on a sticky wicket, I waited for the loose balls,” he said.

Shaw said while playing in the middle, his focus is on the bowlers who he can go after.

“While you’re playing in the middle it is simple - just play your game and choose bowlers that we want to hit first and obviously (Mohammad) Nabi and Rashid (Khan) were the best bowlers in their side. It was an interesting game and I’m happy that we won.”

-Tackling CSK's attack-

On how he plans to tackle Chennai Super Kings bowlers in the Qualifier 2, to be held here on Friday, Shaw said the Delhi players have faced the defending champion in previous IPLs and they understand the game.

“The team will have a plan after reaching Chennai. How to face each bowler like Harbhajan (Singh) bhai, Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) sir or (Imran) Tahir sir. We will have to plan. We will look to do what we’ve done earlier.”

Shaw said that it is not about who plays who but depends on how prepared the team is for the game.

“Personally, I will smash a bad delivery. Even with Harbhajan bhai and Tahir sir is bowling, I will obviously smash it,” Shaw added.

Also read: Fleming aims to tighten PowerPlay work in Qualifier II

When asked about Delhi’s tendency to lose wickets at the most crucial moments, the batsman said, “I think we like to make every game interesting. Every time things are going well, we give away two-three wickets.

“But I think that’s the charm of T20 cricket. Till the time you don’t feel the pressure, its not as much fun.”

Shaw also thanked the management for not losing faith in him despite he not being among runs in the last few games.

“When you are not scoring runs for the last two-three games, then you need to get that form back, preparation is the best thing to do. I have prepared quite a lot. I wasn’t scoring that good in powerplays and the team wasn’t very happy but they never gave up on me.

“They believed in me and more importantly, I believed in myself and thanks to all the support staff...Sourav sir, Ricky sir, Praveen sir and Kaif sir, and players who give me lots of positive vibes. I just played my game out there,” said Shaw.