The Delhi Capitals clinched a nail-biting two-wicket victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator of the 2019 Vivio Indian Premier League at the Dr YS Rajaskehara Reddy ACA-VCDA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
The match, which the Capitals won with just a single ball to spare, swung to-and-fro from one moment to the next as the Capitals reached 165 for eight in 19.5 overs in reply to the Sunrisers’ 162 for eight after Sreyass Iyer had won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Delhi were given the perfect start by Pithvi Shaw (56) and Shikhar Dhawan (17) as the pair launched the chase with an opening stand of 66 from only 47 deliveries with Shaw being the main aggressive component, striking six fours and two maximums while Dhawan, more sedate in his approach, struck three boundaries before the introduction of Deepak Hooda (1-0-13-1).
The off-spinner bowled a wide ball down the leg-side and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha did brilliantly to whip the bails off with Dhawan struggling to get back. Then the seam of Khaleel Ahmed (2.5-0-24-2) struck twice to set the cat amongst the pigeons as he removed both Iyer (8) and then the danger man, Shaw, top-edging a short ball to be caught at point by Vijay Shankar for 56.
Man of the match Rishabh Pant (49) then set about restoring order to a chase that looked to be falling apart as legspinner Rashid Khan (4-1-15-2) then claimed two wickets in his final over, that of Colin Munro (14), trapped in front and the Axar Patel (0), caught behind.
Pant starting smashing Delhi towards their target, clubbing two boundaries and smashing five sixes from just 21 deliveries, with the 18th over being pivotal in the grand scheme of things as Pant destroyed Basil Thampi (4-0-41-0) for 22 runs which brought Delhi to the brink of victory.
But enter Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-0-42-2) grabbed the wickets of Sharfane Rutherford (9), caught by Mohammad Nabi at long-off and then the big wicket of Pant, launched high into the night sky to be caught by Nabi at mid-off with just five runs to get.
Keemo Paul (5 not out) then struck the winning runs off the penultimate delivery from Ahmed, through mid-wicket for four to send the Capitals into the second qualifier against the Chennai Super Kings on Friday and a chance to reach the IPL Final.
Earlier, the Sunrisers had managed to post a tricky total of 162 for eight with Martin Guptill (36) giving the men from Hyderabad a good start, striking one four and four maximums from 19 balls after Ishant Sharma (4-0-34-2) had snatched the early wicket of Saha for eight.
Once Guptill departed, caught by Paul on the deep point boundary off Amit Mishra (4-0-16-1), the Sunrisers struggled to keep the rate up as Delhi fought hard with some good bowling. Manish Pandey (30) faced 36 deliveries and struck just three fours while facing 17 dot balls while the big-hitting Kane Williamson (28) managed just two boundaries from 27 deliveries as the pair struggled to get to grips with the pace of the pitch.
The Sunrisers’ innings was given some impetus at the back-end with Shankar smashing two boundaries and two sixes from just 11 balls before falling to Trent Boult (3-0-37-1) while Nabi (20) struck three boundaries and one maximum from 13 balls.
Hyderabad’s innings was curtailed in the final six balls with Paul (4-0-32-3) grabbing the wickets of Nabi and Khan (0) with the wicket of Hooda (4) sandwiched inbetween, run out at the non-striker’s end by Pant.