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Pant blitz ends SRH’s lucky run

Destructive: Delhi Capitals' Rishabh Pant sends a Basil Thampi delivery racing to the fence during his 21-ball-49 in the Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. IPL Media

Young Keemo Paul gave the final touches to a Rishabh Pant blitzkrieg as Delhi Capitals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in a nerve-wracking IPL Eliminator here on Wednesday.

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

Pant, who resurrected the innings from a precarious 111 for 5, couldn’t have chosen a better venue than chairman of selectors MSK Prasad’s home ground to drive home a point on his much debated World Cup exclusion.

It was a sense of dja vu for Paul, who had similarly hit winning runs in an U-19 World Cup final in 2016 when Khaleel was the bowler in the final over.

Delhi Capital now face Chennai Super Kings in the second Qualifier in their bid to make it to the maiden IPL final against Mumbai Indians.

Needing 34 from three overs, Pant showed brilliant game awareness to target Sunrisers’ weakest link Basil Thampi, smashing him for 21 runs in the 18th over as he brought the game on an even keel.

A six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought the equation down to five runs before Pant in his bid to finish the game holed out with five required from seven balls. Bhuvneshwar made sure SRH had to defend five off the last over.

More drama followed with Delhi needing two off the last three balls.

Amit Mishra was given out for obstructing the field as he blocked Khaleel’s throw at the bowler’s end. With two off two required, Paul finished off the chase with a pulled four off Khaleel.

When the chase started, Prithvi Shaw (56 off 38 balls) was in his element in the fifth over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar when he first played a flowing cover drive, followed by a ramp shot for six over third man and a lofted boundary over mid-off to put Sunrisers on the backfoot.

Sensing that Prithvi has taken the lead, senior partner Shikhar Dhawan (17) after collecting three boundaries started playing the second fiddle with 55 coming off Powerplay overs.

In the same over, Wriddhiman Saha effected a smart stumping down leg-side to see the end of Dhawan even as Prithvi completed his 50 off 31 balls.

However, just like Sunrisers, Delhi also lost momentum at start of the back-10 with Khaleel’s extra pace and bounce accounting for Prithvi and skipper Shreyas Iyer (8). Prithvi’s innings had six fours and two sixes.

Earlier, Delhi Capitals bowlers pulled the plug in the middle overs, restricting Sunrisers Hyderabad to a par score of 162 for 8 on a good batting surface after opting to field.

Paul (3/32 in 4 overs) was ably supported by Mishra (1/16 in 4 overs), Ishant Sharma (2/34 in 4 overs) and Axar (0/30 in 4 overs) as the quartet bowled 40 dot balls between them.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: Wriddhiman Saha c Iyer b Ishant 8 (9b, 1x4), Martin Guptill c Paul b Mishra 36 (19b, 1x4, 4x6), Manish Pandey c Rutherford b Paul 30 (36b, 3x4), Kane Williamson b Ishant 28 (27b, 2x4), Vijay Shankar c Axar b Boult 25 (11b, 2x4, 2x6), Mohammad Nabi c Axar b Paul 20 (13b, 3x4, 1x6), Deepak Hooda (run out) 4 (4b), Rashid Khan c Pant b Paul 0 (1b), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (not out), Basil Thampi (not out) 1 (1b). Extras (LB-2, W-7, NB-1) 10. Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 162.

Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Saha), 2-56 (Guptill), 3-90 (Pandey), 4-111 (Williamson), 5-147 (Shankar). 6-160 (Nabi), 7-161 (Hooda), 8-161 (Rashid).

Bowling: Trent Boult 3-0-37-1, Ishant Sharma 4-0-34-2, Axar Patel 4-0-30-0, Amit Mishra 4-0-16-1, Keemo Paul 4-0-32-3, Sherfane Rutherford 1-0-11-0.

DELHI CAPITALS: Prithvi Shaw c Shankar b Khaleel 56 (38B, 6X4, 2X4), Shikhar Dhawan st Saha b Hooda 17 (16B, 3X4), Shreyas Iyer c Saha b Khaleel 8 (10b, 1x4), Rishabh Pant c Nabi b Bhuvneshwar 49 (21b, 2x4, 5x6), Colin Munro lbw b Rashid 14 (13b, 1x4, 1x6), Axar Patel c Saha b Rashid 0 (3b), Sherfane Rutherford c Nabi b Bhuvneshwar 9 (12b, 1x6), Keemo Paul (not out) 5 (4b, 1x4), Amit Mishra (obstructing the field) 1 (2b), Trent Boult (batting) 0 (0b). Extras (B-1, W-5) 6. Total (for 8 wkts, 19.5 overs) 165.

Fall of wickets: 1-66 (Dhawan), 2-84 (Iyer), 3-87 (Shaw), 4-111 (Munro), 5-111 (Axar), 6-151 (Rutherford), 7-158 (Pant), 8-161 (Mishra).

Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-42-2, Mohammad Nabi 4-0-29-0, Khaleel Ahmed 2.5-0-24-2, Rashid Khan 4-1-15-2, Basil Thampi 4-0-41-0, Deepak Hooda 1-0-13-1.

Result: Capitals won by 2 wickets

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