In a match of oscillating fortunes in the last few overs, Delhi Capitals entered the second qualifier with a two wicket victory with one ball to spare against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL tournament in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. Wicketkeeper Rishab Pant proved his mettle as an explosive batsmen to 49 runs from 21 balls with five sixes and two fours to help DC cross the finish line despite the middle order strut and late order hiccup.
A freakish run out of Amit Mishra through the DRS for obstructing the field swung the match back in SRH’s favour with DC on 161 for eight, requiring two runs off two balls to win the match. But Keemo Paul pulled Khaleel Ahmed to the square leg boundary for four much to the delight of DC players. DC will now take on CSK in Visakhapatnam in the second qualifier on Friday.
Chasing SRH’s 162 for eight in 20 overs for victory, DC had a bright start with openers Prithvi Shaw and southpaw Shikhar Dhawan adding 66 runs for the first wicket. The diminutive Shaw was at his powerful best to top score on 56 runs from 38 balls with two sixes and six fours. Dhawan, who was content in rotating the strike, was the first to go for 17 runs off 16 balls with three hits to the fence.
Though Shaw played a superlative knock, SRH bowlers brought their team into the game to reduced DC to 111 for five in 14.4 overs. Pant then brought his power-hitting prowess to the fore and looked like he would take DC into the qualifiers. The critical moment for DC was Pant slamming Basil Thampi for two sixes and two fours in the 18th over that yielded 22 runs.
Pant added 40 crucial runs for the sixth wicket with Sherfane Rutherford, whose contribution was just nine runs. Even as DC looked to be cantering again, they lost the wickets of Pant and Mishra as the match headed to a pulsating finish.
Small but very useful contributions from the top order batsmen helped SRH reach a competitive total of 162 though they lost eight wickets in the process. New Zealander Martin Guptill shared a very brisk partnership of 31 runs with wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha in 3.1 overs. Saha, who played second fiddle, was caught by Shreyas Iyer off Ishant Sharma in trying to force the pace of his innings.
Guptill added 25 runs for the second wicket with Manish Pandey before he fell to the guiles of leg-spinner Amit Mishra to be caught by Keemo Paul for 36 runs from 19 balls with four sixes and on four. Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson added 34 runs for the fourth wicket. Manish made 30 runs off 36 balls with three fours before becoming the first victim of Keemo Paul, who claimed three wickets.
With Williamson falling with the total on 111, it looked like DC would be able to contain SRH to a low score. But a fifth wicket partnership of 36 runs between Vijay Shankar (25 runs, 21 balls, two sixes and two fours) and Mohammad Nabi (20 runs, 13 balls, one six and three fours) boosted the SRH total.