Rishabh Pant carnage gives Delhi Capitals a winning start

IPL 2019

Pant's unbeaten 78 came off just 27 deliveries.

Pant’s unbeaten 78 came off just 27 deliveries. © AFP

Rishabh Pant’s six-hitting binge found no match in the Mumbai Indians star-studded line-up as Delhi Capitals began life in the IPL with a convincing victory away from home. By falling short of Delhi’s 213/6 by 37 runs, Mumbai Indians have now lost the first game for the seventh-straight season. The result also put an end to a very similar first-game rut for the Delhi side, as they began with a win for the first time in seven seasons.

How was Shikhar Dhawan’s homecoming and Delhi Capitals’ start?

Not bad. Dhawan was fluent during his stay but didn’t quite bring the roof down as far as strike rate is concerned. Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw got carried away by the fantastic batting strip in front of them, and ended up wafting away from the body and paying the price for it. Mitchell McClenaghan once again picked up wickets in a bunch, but the credit for Iyer’s departure belonged to Kieron Pollard who took a sharp catch at extra cover.

What aided their recovery?

New recruit Colin Ingram. By the time DC went from 45/2 in 6 overs to 82/2 in 10, Ingram had caught up with Dhawan’s tally and would sprint past it in the 11th over – where he picked three fours off Krunal Pandya. Hardik too faced the brunt as the T20 freelancer showed why DC’s INR 6.4 Crore winning bid was prudent one. By the time he fell, for a 32-ball 47, DC had 113/3 in 13 overs.

From there, what pushed them to such a massive total?

Rishabh Pant

When you’ve got a batsman helicopter-flicking a Jasprit Bumrah yorker, there’s very little the rest of the bowling line-up can do against him. The situation was laid out in red carpet for the DC finisher, and to say he made the most of it would be a gross understatement. Of the 99 runs that DC got in the last six overs, 77 belonged to Pant’s account too, of which 70 came in fours and sixes. Most of those big hits were expectedly target in the mid-wicket and square leg region, but there was not a field that Rohit would set that brought different results. Pandya particularly tried different tricks – full and wide outside off, a slower one and even some short-pitched bowling – each met with more disdain than the previous delivery. There was no leniency in store for the 17-year-old debutant Rasikh Salam too, who was tasked with bowling the 19th over. Pant smashed him for two sixes and one four to take 21 runs off it, before Bumrah’s final over was taken apart too, leaving him with figures of 4-0-40-1.

How was MI’s start?

It seemed fine, particularly after Trent Boult conceded 17 in his second over. But Ishant Sharma’s second and third overs ruffled feathers. The pitch was starting to show signs of slowing down, and the experienced pacer smartly used the knuckle-ball option to first deceive Rohit Sharma, and then remove Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock inside the same over.

How was Yuvraj Singh’s MI debut?

Shaky at the start but ended with the crowd getting right behind him with chants of ‘Yuvi, Yuvi’. And why not, he showed a few glimpses of his old self in his 35-ball 53, and was specifically brutal against left-arm spinner Axar Patel. He was also involved in a promising partnership with Kieron Pollard that kept DC on their toes despite the runs they had on the board.

How did they fall apart, then?

Keemo Paul broke that stand with a slower one and kept using change of pace as the surface was showing more signs of having slowed down. Axar continued to bleed runs while Krunal Pandya eyed another weaklink to go after. Trent Boult had an ordinary first spell and was in danger of being taken apart again, but Rahul Tewatia took his third catch of the night to effectively end MI’s chase.

Yuvraj Singh fought on, and even got his half-century but there wasn’t adequate support from the other end as they folded in the final over.

What’s next for these two teams?

DC have only a day to revel in their flying start as they head north for a home game against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday. Mumbai Indians will travel in the opposite direction to Bengaluru for their next game on Thursday, where they face a wounded home side that began their IPL campaign in quite an appalling fashion.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 213/6 in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant 73*, Colin Ingram 47; Mitchell McClenaghan 3-40) lost to Mumbai Indians 176 in 19.2 overs (Yuvraj Singh 53; Ishant Sharma 2-34, Kagiso Rabada 2-23) by 37 runs

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