As far as the number of twists in one game go, this game should be on the upper end of the spectrum. Twist after twist after twist. Right when the match started looking one-sided, bam! A player completely turns the game around on its head. That was probably because both teams were packed with match winners. And effective match winners at that.
This was a historic win for the Delhi Capitals. It was the first time that they had won a game in the playoffs. And that’s saying something considering that they have played two semi-finals, a Qualifier 1 and a Qualifier 2. This time, they were highly unlucky becoming the first team to finish outside the top 2 even with 18 points. But they didn’t let that faze them. Even when asked about nervousness and guts among players at the toss, Shreyas Iyer said that they were going to treat it as just another match. At the toss, Iyer had tossed the coin before he was supposed to. He joked about that as well saying that I was so excited to get the game started that I just tossed it before I needed to. That showed that the atmosphere in the Delhi dressing room was not that of self pity but of motivation to go out there and prove that they deserve to be there at Hyderabad on the 12th in the night of the finals.
After DC won a very important toss and elected to field first, the SRH openers Saha and Guptill came out to bat. I think the instructions given to them were that one of you should hit it out and the other one should anchor. Guptill took the responsibility of keeping the strike rate up and he succeeded at that scoring 36 runs off just 19 balls. Saha, though could not do his job, and lost his wicket in the 4th over itself. Manish Pandey, coming into this match with red-hot might have found himself under a lot of pressure to play a long innings. That was what caused him to play an ODI format innings of 30 off 36. The turning point was actually his wicket, after which the SRH batsmen understood that the innings would go nowhere if they were to keep playing as they were. Vijay Shankar took initiative and played a quickfire knock of 25 off 11. That was the gamechanging innings for SRH. The push that Shankar gave them prompted other batsmen to hit too which ultimately led to a competitive total of 162. Rishabh Pant’s excellent wicket keeping in the last over has to be given credit. But what he did with the gloves was nothing compared to what he was about to do with the bat.
Shikhar Dhawan is having a special season to say the least. The second half of his IPL has been absolutely astounding. On the other hand, his partner Prithvi Shaw has kept on showing little glimpses but hasn’t managed to turn them into something big apart from that one 99 against KKR at the Kotla. But today, Shaw was the one who took charge while Dhawan sat back. His innings of 56 definitely deserves applause. After these two openers got going, I don’t think anybody really believed that SRH cold win this game. I didn’t either. Not till the 15th over. That was the over where Rashid Khan can in and did what only he can do. A double wicket maiden over from Rashid completely changed the tide of the match. Now suddenly DC were lagging behind with a Required Run Rate Of above 12 and only one designated batsman at the crease. And guess who that was? That’s right, Rishabh Pant.
The next two overs yielded 18 runs for the Delhi Capitals. Not enough. Now Delhi needed 34 off the last 3. Till then, Khaleel has been the best bowler for SRH with two wickets an a great economy. On the other hand, Basil Thampi had had a bad day. Dropping one catch and going wicketless. Now any captain in their right mind would have bowled Khaleel there, but not Williamson. He went with Basil Thampi and well, the rest is history. Rishabh Pant extracted 22 runs off his over which included 2 6s and 2 4s. After that over, DC needed 12 runs off 12 balls. Quite easy right? Yes, but not for DC. Why do something the easy way if there is a harder way to do it!
Rishabh Pant has the chance to complete his fifty, which would be one of the fastest fifties of this whole season, of a Bhuvaneshwar Kumar delivery when he hit it straight back to him but Kumar slipped and could not effect a run out even if he tried. The non striker wanted to run the single but Rishabh refused because t wouldn’t have been in the right spirit of the game. He got out on the very next ball and lost the chance to reach a personal milestone. But truly a gentleman’s move. Anyway, after Rishabh Pant could not finish it off, we all though that there can’t be another twist in this game. But there was. Rutherford got out and slowly the drama was increasing.
By the time the last over came around, DC still needed 5 runs to win. Thankfully, Khaleel was bowling this over. Nerves might have impacted him though because he bowled a wide on the first ball. The next 3 balls could only be sent for 2 runs and 2 more runs were needed off 3 balls with Amit Mishra on strike. That’s when the drama started. Mishra ji failed to make contact with the delivery but sill ran. As he was going towards the non-striker’s end, he started drifting towards the stumps and effectively blocked the stumps eliminating the chance of a run out. He was rightfully shown the way to the pavilion thanks to the appeal by Khaleel who showed immense presence of mind. Now 2 off 2 were needed and the field was set such that a single would have been difficult. Keemo Paul had to go for a four. He did that. He succeeded at that. The joy as the Delhi players ran out and hugged Paul was enough to warm the most wooden of hearts.
The result was fitting as DC were the ones who were more deserving. Anyway, coming in to the next fixture which will now be CSK Vs DC. They will be facing off on the 10th. I’m not predicting any result, but I really really hope that this DC setup can win that match and reach the finals. Anyway that’s it for this game, thank you for reading!