IPL 2019: Pant heroics hand Delhi Capitals first win

The youngster proved his worth on Sunday as he played a whirlwind knock of 78 off just 27 deliveries, which eventually helped Delhi Capitals beat Mumbai Indians by 37 runs and start its Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a winning note.

Delhi Capitals players walk back after the match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.   -  IPL

The World Cup might still be a couple of months away, but Rishabh Pant seems to have already got into the zone.

The youngster proved his worth on Sunday as he played a whirlwind knock of 78 off just 27 deliveries, which eventually helped Delhi Capitals beat Mumbai Indians by 37 runs and start its Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a winning note.

At the Wankhede Stadium, Pant brought up his half century in just 18 balls -- hitting seven sixes and as many fours -- to guide Delhi to 213-6. In reply, Mumbai Indians scored 176/9 in 19.2 overs with Jasprit Bumrah not coming out to bat due to a left shoulder injury he suffered in the first innings of the match.

Put in to bat, Delhi smacked 99 runs in its last six overs, thanks to Pant. The 21-year-old stumper-batsman, went hammer and tongs at Mumbai Indians bowlers. He smashed Jasprit Bumrah for a few sixes to make the job difficult for the Mumbai outfit.

As it happened

Relying on his natural game, the youngster mercilessly punished the Mumbai bowlers after South African Colin Ingram (47 off 32 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (43 off 36 balls) pulled the visiting side out of the rubble and laid the foundation for a big total with an 83-run stand for the third wicket.

Pant kept the momentum going and hammered a couple of sixes and a four in the 16th over of Hardik Pandya to ensure that Delhi had the edge over the host team.

Mumbai fielded young Kashmiri pacer, Rasikh Salam but that move did not work as he gave away 42 runs in four overs and remained wicket-less. India internationals, Bumrah and Hardik too proved expensive. For the host, Mitchell McCleneghan was the pick of the bowlers, scalping three wickets for 40 runs.

Chasing a mammoth total, it was necessary for Mumbai to get off to a good start. With captain, Rohit Sharma, opening the innings, there were hopes. But Rohit could not survive for long as he was caught at deep square-leg by Rahul Tewatia off Ishant Sharma.

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Even though the other opener, Quinton de Kock looked fiery, he failed to capitalise on a good start and was dismissed by Ishant Sharma for 27.

With the top two failing, the onus was on the seasoned campaigners Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard to fire. The vastly experienced Yuvraj, who was roped in by Mumbai Indians this season for Rs 1 crore, did try his best to steady the innings and played a gritty knock scoring 53 before being caught by Rahul Tewatia at the deep mid-wicket off Kagiso Rabada.

He first stitched a 50-run partnership with Pollard for the fourth wicket, and then added another 39-runs with Krunal Pandya.

In the end, those partnerships, however, had very little meaning.

Pollard showed glimpses of his brilliance before being caught by Rahul Tewatia at sweep cover off Keemo Paul for 21.

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Krunal, who showed promises too, was dismissed by Trent Boult for 32.

Even though, Delhi’s bowling went a bit haywire in the middle, Ishant and Rabada ensured that there was no slip-up.

It was, however, a double blow for Mumbai Indians as it not only lost the opener, but also its key paceman, Jasprit Bumrah, who suffered a shoulder injury and did not come out to bat, raising serious concerns over his future in the tournament.

Just like he would like to bounce back in the tournament, Mumbai will also hope that Bumrah’s injury doesn't force him out of the World Cup race.