VISAKHAPATNAM: Securing a playoff berth after seven seasons was a big deal for Delhi Capitals. On Wednesday, they forwarded their quest for maiden IPL glory with a last-gasp, two-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad, setting up a clash against Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 2.
One could sense the nervousness of Delhi even before the match began, when skipper Shreyas Iyer attempted to toss the coin before the referee asked him to. Unlike their counterparts, Delhi did not have many players with knockout experience. Shikhar Dhawan was the only one to feel that pressure in 12 matches. But Delhi proved that they are ready to fight the fight, dishing out an all-around performance at ACA-VDCA Stadium.
“I think 160 was a good score. I feel they (Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant) are the sort of batsmen that you can’t control. You need to let them play on their own. If they go with the flow, they can win you games,” Iyer said after the match.
Restricting Hyderabad to 162/8, it was anyone’s game. That Delhi finished in the final over reflected that the pitch was not easy to bat on. But the visitors had their plans clearly fleshed out. Shaw started on a brisk note and laid a solid platform by putting up 66 with Shikhar Dhawan for the first wicket. His 38-ball 56 included six boundaries and two sixes.
Though Delhi lost Iyer for eight, they didn’t have to panic till the 15th over. With a double-wicket maiden, Rashid Khan brought silence to their dugout, with the score reading 111/5.
With 52 needed from 30, the game was not in anyone’s favour. But Pant set the stage on fire with a 21-ball 49. Even after his departure in the 19th over, Delhi had to eke their way to a win. With five needed off the last over, Amit Mishra ended up being adjudged out via DRS for obstructing the field after he tried to cut across Khaleel Ahmed while taking a run. With two required off two, Sherfane Rutherford’s boundary gave Delhi their first IPL playoff win in five attempts.
“I can’t express my emotions. I was sitting and those last two overs were like hell. An amazing feeling (to win), and I could see the happiness on everyone’s faces,” said Iyer. “Looking forward to the next game.”
Brief scores: SRH 162/8 in 20 ovs (Guptill 36, Pandey 30; Keemo 3/32) lost to DC 165/8 in 19.5 ovs (Shaw 56, Pant 49; Rashid 2/15).