Playing Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first Eliminator of the Indian Premier League, Delhi Capitals were looking down the barrel after the 16th over. They needed 42 off 24 balls and needed one final push to get them over the line. It would take another match-winning performance from Rishabh Pant to take his team to victory.
42 needed off 24 balls
After losing two wickets and scoring no runs in a Rashid Khan over, Sherfane Rurtherford eased the pressure a little with a six in the previous over by Mohammad Nabi.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar had gone for runs in his previous spell, but the first four balls off the over kept the batsmen in check with just two runs coming off them. Rutherford got lucky with one delivery that was the perfect length for him, and slammed the fifth ball for a six. Kumar made amends with the last delivery that also yielded no runs.
34 needed off 18 balls
Just before it was clear that Basil Thampi would be bowling the over, commentator Sunil Gavaskar pointed out that the target was very achievable for someone like Pant. Delhi Capitals’ wicketkeeper decided to prove him right.
Thampi was known to be prone to wilt under pressure and the first ball went to the straight boundary.
Thampi then again offered length and Pant swung it over deep mid-wicket for a six that went 91 metres back.
The next ball went for a four to the long leg fence.
The fourth ball went about 15 rows back over deep midwicket.
Two singles followed. At the end of the over the target was suddenly a very achievable 12 of 12 balls.
Am firmly now in the Rishabh Pant fan club.
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) May 8, 2019
12 needed off 12
All Delhi needed to do was walk over the finish line but they decided to make things exciting. Rutherford chased a slow, wide ball by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and was caught by Nabi.
A dot ball followed, but then Pant got hold off a delivery outside off-stump to hit a six over long-off. Delhi capitals needed six off nine balls. A wide and a dot ball followed.
Needing just five runs to win, Pant threw his wicket trying to hit a wide, slow delivery outside his off stump. Just like Rutherford, he was caught at long-off by Nabi. As he walked off, Pant smacked his bat on his pad, obviously upset about his poor shot selection. Commentator Harsha Bhogle summed up what a lot of people were thinking:
The frustration of watching Rishabh Pant bat. Fabulous first shot and then a big hit to the fielder. Had the opportunity of controlling a tough run chase.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 1, 2019
The last ball was a dot and the pressure was now on the Delhi team.
5 needed off 6 balls
Khaleel Ahmed started the last over with a wide and then Amit Mishra managed to get a single. Ahmed then gets a dot ball, before Paul made contact with the next ball, but only got a single.
Then Mishra missed the next ball, scampered off for the single and was given out obstructing the throw by Ahmed. The Capitals needed just two runs to win, and Paul managed to hit the next delivery over midwicket for four to save the team the blushes.