Fri, 19 Apr 2019

Rishabh Pant magic fires Delhi Capitals to emphatic win

ESPNCricInfo
25 Mar 2019, 04:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Delhi Capitals 213 for 6 (Pant 78, Ingram 47, Dhawan 43) beat Mumbai Indians 176 (Yuvraj 53, Krunal 32, Rabada 2-23, Ishant 2-34) by 37 runs

The India auditions are done, but Rishabh Pant refuses to take the World Cup spotlight away. Or so he'd like to believe after blasting 78 not out off 27 balls, the third fastest IPL half-century, to set the tournament alight for Delhi Capitals.

Equally significant was Colin Ingram's 43 that gave Delhi momentum in the first place after the top order sputtered. This meant, Shreyas Iyer celebrated an away win at his home ground as Delhi defended their mammoth 213 for 6 in style.

Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, are yet to win their first IPL game since 2012. They will now travel to Bengaluru with not just questions to address, but also concerns over Jasprit Bumrah's shoulder.

McClenaghan strikes, Delhi struggle

Delhi Capitals began the season wondering 'there we go again.' Prithvi Shaw and Iyer were out to Mitchell McClenaghan inside the fourth over. Shikhar Dhawan pottered to 13 off 16 balls in the first six overs. This allowed Rohit Sharma to bowl three overs of debutant Rasikh Salam by the seventh over.

Although nervous, the 17-year old from Jammu & Kashmir impressed with his skiddy pace and late away movement. At that stage, Delhi were 49 for 2, with ESPNcricinfo's Predictor pegging Delhi's score at 144. The innings needed impetus.

Ingram takes on the Pandyas

A stable base, strong bottom hands and expert picking of lengths makes Ingram lethal. His re-entry into the IPL after eight years immediately injected momentum. He announced himself off his 13th delivery when he muscled a short Hardik Pandya delivery deep into the first tier on the leg side. Off the 11th over, he did spare Krunal Pandya, who repeatedly kept trying to fire the ball full, trying to angle the ball away from the sweeping arc.

Ingram was a step ahead, using the gaps in the off side to drill the ball in the arc between point and long-off. The over went for three fours, which came on the back of Dhawan playing a delicious upper cut off McClenaghan. The wheels were turning. From 70 for 2 in nine, Delhi were now 95 for 2 in 11 overs.

Mumbai had no spinner to take the ball away from the left-handers. This forced Rohit to turn to Ben Cutting to cover up for Krunal's quota. But he too was scooped disdainfully. Ingram would make 47 off 32, and his 83-run stand with Dhawan led a superb revival.

Rishabh Pant's pyrotechnics

Virat Kohli emphatically stated the IPL won't impact World Cup selection, but Pant could give the team management the biggest headache yet. He was held back - perhaps a wrong call borne out of a thin batting line-up - but it didn't cost Delhi. He whipped, swept, flicked, pulled and danced his way to sixes, peppering the second tiers of different parts of the ground, although the one between deep square leg and long leg were his favourite.

His first five deliveries yielded just one, but the next 10 gave him 40 runs. He'd hit five fours, three sixes in the interim; like Ingram, Pant too took a liking for Hardik, hitting him for two sixes and a four in the 16th to rev up. The decision to test him with short balls, particularly, fell flat. Short on middle: pulled, short outside off: slapped over long-off. Short further away: fetched and swatted over deep midwicket. This was Pant unleashed. Delhi smashed 99 off the last six overs.

Mumbai's Powerplay failure

Six games in 2017 yielded no wickets for Ishant Sharma. He went unsold subsequently in 2018, but was among the last buys for Delhi in 2019. His first IPL scalp in three years was Rohit Sharma, who top-edged a pull to fine leg in the fourth over. Off his next over, he had the dangerous Quinton de Kock hole out to fine leg for a 16-ball 27. In the same over, Suryakumar Yadav was brilliantly run-out by Iyer. Mumbai sputtered to 46 for 3 in the first six.

Yuvraj sparkles not enough

Yuvraj Singh walloped Axar Patel's darts to offset a slow start that had him 8 off 10 at one stage, struggling particularly against the short-ball barrage. But Kieron Pollard and Hardik, who chipped a return catch for a second-ball duck, fell within three balls of each other to put pressure on him. Krunal walked out at No. 7 in the 12th over and eased some of it, despite the asking rate spiraling to 13 an over. Delhi briefly lost their plot here, and Krunal made a mockery of their lengths by using his crease to muscle 32 off 15.

But when he got out, Mumbai needed 80 off 30. Essentially, Yuvraj or Ben Cutting had to do to Delhi what Andre Russell did to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Yuvraj by then had moved to 47 off 29, and a half-century duly arrived off a thick outside edge, but the game was beyond Mumbai by then, with Delhi closing out the game through Rabada and Trent Boult.

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