IPL 2019: Pant's whirlwind 49 powers Delhi Capitals into qualifier meeting with CSK

Chasing 163 for victory, Rishabh Pant struck a 21-ball 49, which was studded with five sixes, to take Delhi Capitals into the IPL 2019 Qualifier 2.

Rishabh Pant goes for his now famous one-handed lofted shot.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Rishabh Pant emerged the star of the evening as Delhi Capitals snatched a nervous two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL Eliminator here on Wednesday.

Chasing 163 for victory, Delhi had stuttered after Khaleel Ahmed and Rashid Khan had snared four quick wickets between them. Thirty-four runs were needed off the final three overs when Pant exploded. He clobbered Basil Thampi for 20 runs in the space of four balls — two giant sixes over mid-wicket and two fours. Pant departed for 49 (21b, 2x4, 5x6), seemingly having done enough, but there was still time for some drama.

AS IT HAPPENED

Amit Mishra was given out obstructing the field in the final over, leaving Delhi to score two off two, but Keemo Paul held his nerve. Delhi will now meet CSK in the second qualifier at the same venue on Friday.

As long as Prithvi Shaw (56, 38b) was at the crease, the contest seemed headed only one way. The right-hander played some searing shots either side of the wicket: short-arm pulls, cover drives, and even a ramp over third man off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. After having been dropped on 15 by Basil Thampi at mid-off, Shaw was making SRH pay.

Delhi's opening pair had added 66 before Deepak Hooda broke through, having Shikhar Dhawan stumped down the leg-side. But it was Khaleel, SRH's leading wicket-taker this season, who dragged his side back into the game. He struck twice in the 11th over, having Shreyas Iyer caught behind before Shaw top-edged a pull shot.

Not long after, on came Rashid Khan, for his final over. He trapped Colin Munro leg-before, the Kiwi reviewing the decision in vain. Axar Patel was then adjudged caught behind for nought; he had made no contact with the ball, but there was nothing that could be done. Rashid finished with two for 15 from his four excellent overs. It all depended on Pant, and he did not disappoint for the Capitals.

Rashid's two wickets for 15 brought Sunrisers back into the contest. PHOTO: K.R. DEEPAK

 

Earlier, Delhi won the toss and opted to field first, on what both captains felt was going to be a tacky surface. Wriddhiman Saha was dismissed cheaply but Martin Guptill took off. The New Zealander slapped Ishant Sharma over long-on, and then struck compatriot Trent Boult for consecutive sixes. The first of those was driven over extra-cover, the second slashed over point. Axar Patel was then slog-swept over mid-wicket, and SRH had motored to 54 for one in the power-play overs.

But Guptill fell at a most inopportune moment. He slog-swept the first delivery he faced from Amit Mishra, immediately after the powerplay, and was held at deep mid-wicket for 36 (19b). From that point, the innings dramatically slowed down, as if someone had simply thrown it into a lower gear. Thirty-three balls passed without a boundary being scored, as Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson struggled to accelerate. Between the end of the sixth and the 14th overs, SRH made progress at a glacial rate, adding only 39 runs.

Pandey fell for a cautious 36-ball-30, just when he seemed set to attack; it did his side no favours. SRH played out 47 dot balls in all. Vijay Shankar, who timed the ball sweetly during the course of his 11-ball-25, and Mohammad Nabi then freed their arms as SRH managed 69 runs in the last seven overs.