Rishabh Pant does it again !!
The 23 year old stockily built powerhouse played a sensational powerpacked innings of 49 off 21 balls with 2 fours and 5 towering sixes to demolish a strong bowling outfit of Sunrisers Hyderabad to reel off a sensational 2 wicket win for Delhi for a showdown with CSK for a spot in the finals.
The match began with Delhi winning the toss and fielding. SRH began in electrifying fashion courtesy Martin Guptill (36 off 19 balls)who smote 4 sixes in powerplay to drive SRH to 54 after 6 overs. However his dismissal led to a sharp fall in runrate with Manish Pandey (30 off 36) and Williamson ( 28 off 27) playing relatively more sedate knocks with the Delhi spinners Axar and Mishra bowling tight and it looked as if SRH will struggle to reach 150. However superb cameos from Vijay Shankar (25 off 11) and Nabi (20 off 13) allowed SRH to scrap hard at the end overs and SRH managed a decent 162 in 20 overs. For Capitals, Keemo Paul ( 3/32) , Ishant (2/ 34) and Amit Mishra ( 1/16 off 4 overs) bowled with success.
In reply Delhi started briskly with Shaw for the first time after his 99 vs KKR ,looked in form. He played some amazing strokes particularly on the onside taking on Khaleel initially in particular. After hitting 5 fours and 2 sixes Shaw perished for 56 off 38 balls caught off a thick edge with Khaleel getting his revenge. On the other end both Dhawan (17) and Iyer (8) went for a few and Pant made his entry, only to witness both Colin Munro and Axar getting dismissed cheaply to not only put Delhi in more trouble (111/5 in 14th overs) but also taking a silly review away along with the former. With 50 plus required in 5 overs, Pant started cutting loose and the stadium saw a great exhibition of power hitting with the match tantalisingly poised. After the dangerous Rashid finished his spell of skillful spin bowling, Basil Thampi bowled the 18th over and he was simply decimated by Pant’s brute power. 20 plus runs came of that over, after which it was 12 from 12 balls in last two overs and this is where the Delhi batsmen lost their composure going for glory shots rather than playing normal cricket and trying to cruise through .Three quick wickets of Rutherford, Pant and Mishra fell ,with the last named adjudicated as obstructing the field ,when he allegedly deliberately came in between the bowler’s throw and the stumps. The equation was 2 from 2 balls as Keemo Paul hit the winning boundary and Delhi won a thriller by 2 wickets with 1 ball to go.
For SRH , Rashid Khan with 2/15 was outstanding displaying his skills and Khaleel got 2/24. However most of the SRH fast bowlers went for runs as Shaw and Pant were both on fire. Pant for his match winning innings was the man of the match. One wonders why Williamson went for Thampi in the 18th over when Khaleel still had overs left. That 18th over proved fatal for SRH.
Thus SRH made their exit from IPL 12. They were struggling in batting since Bairstow and Warner left for their respective countries. Their bowling which was a key factor last year ,looked more predictable with the faster bowlers getting expensive.
Delhi Capitals are looking good now but they ought to find a way of chasing targets on a more smoother note. Today they were cruising before their harakiri in last two overs nearly costed them the match. They will be facing CSK for a spot in the finals, hence they need to show a more tighter and sensible approach when chasing targets.