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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Rishabh Pant shines as Delhi Capitals survive late scare to steal 4-run win against Gujarat Titans

Skipper Pant and Axar Patel forged a blistering stand of 113 runs off 68 balls en route to quickfire individual half-centuries to power DC to 224 for 4 in their must-win game

PTI New Delhi Published 24.04.24, 11:51 PM
Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant File Photo

Rishabh Pant virtually sealed his spot as India's first choice wicketkeeper for the T20 World Cup with a belligerent unbeaten half-century in Delhi Capitals' narrow four-run win over Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday.

Skipper Pant and Axar Patel forged a blistering stand of 113 runs off 68 balls en route to quickfire individual half-centuries to power DC to 224 for 4 in their must-win game.

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In reply, Sai Sudarshan (65 off 29 ) and David Miller (55 off 23) scored fifties, while Rashid Khan hit a 11-ball 21 not out but still couldn't take GT over the line, finishing at 220 for 8 in their 20 overs.

Sent in to bat, Pant led from the front, remaining unbeaten on 88 off 43 balls (5X4s, 8X6s), his innings proving to be a timely reminder to the national selectors, who are likely to pick him in India's first XI against Pakistan in the World T20 match in New York, barring fitness issues.

Pant's maturity showed as he paced his innings brilliantly in company of Axar, who made 66 off 43 balls after being promoted to the third spot. His innings was studded with five fours and four sixes.

Chasing 225, GT lost skipper Shubman Gill in the second over but Wriddhiman Saha (39) played some delightful shots and together with Impact Sub Sai Sudharsan shared 82 runs for the second wicket to keep GT in the hunt.

But once Saha departed, Azmatullah Omarzai too was brilliantly caught by Jake Fraser-McGurk at deep midwicket off Axar soon.

But Sudharsan, who got a reprieve in the fifth over, used his long handle to great effect to notch up his fifty off 29 balls.

But with the asking rate constantly creeping up, Sudharsan had to go for his shots which eventually led to his downfall as he was caught by Axar off Salam at long-off. He hit seven fours and two sixes.

Miller (55 off 23, 6X4s, 3X6s) then put up a show to take them closer to the target and once he was out, Rashid gave GT hope with a 11-ball 21-run unbeaten cameo.

Needing 19 runs off the last over, Rashid hit Mukesh Kumar for two consecutive fours in the first two balls and then sent the pacer over the fence in the penultimate ball to reduce the deficit to 5 off the last ball.

But Mukesh kept his calm as Rashid failed to clear the fence as GT fell short.

But Wednesday's game was all about Pant as he squashed all doubts about his World T20 Cup chances with a magnificent innings. The flamboyant keeper batter was also brilliant behind the stumps grabbing two sharp catches.

Earlier, Jake Fraser-McGurk and Prithvi Shaw got DC off to a flying start, racing to 34 in 3 overs.

Fraser-McGurk, who smashed a blistering 18-ball 65 in their last match, looked at his ominous best as he elegantly pulled GT bowlers over the fence but his knock was cut short by Sandeep Warrier as the young Australian was holed out at square-leg by Noor Ahmed.

It was double blow for DC in the fourth over as Shaw was caught by Noor off Warrier two balls later with a good diving effort at the deep backward square leg as the batter went for a maximum.

DC's problems were further compounded when Warrier accounted for his second scalp of the day in the form of Shai Hope, who was latched on by a diving Rashid at cover boundary as DC slumped to 44 for 3 in the powerplay.

With three wickets down, Pant and Axar initially played sensibly and tried to forge a partnership but once they were set, they unleashed their brutal attack.

Pant started slowly but gained in confidence as time progressed and unleashed his trademark pick up shots of his legs, cuts and pulls to score his runs.

While Pant looked in full flow after getting his groove, Axar played the second fiddle but didn't falter to dispatch the bad balls to the fence.

But Axar upped his tempo as the innings progressed and notched up his fifty off 37 balls with a boundary off Rashid in the last ball of the 15th over.

Pant attacked anything which was pitched on his legs as he effortlessly flicked Mohit Sharma for a six over midwicket in the 16th over. He then clobbered Mohit over long-off in the same over to prop up DC's run rate.

Axar matched his skipper stroke-for-stroke as he dispatched Noor for huge back-to-back sixes in the 17th over.

But in search of one too many, Axar perished in the next ball, caught by Sai Kishore at long-on.

Pant brought up his fifty with a hit over the long-on fence off Mohit.

Tristan Stubbs' late seven-ball 26-run cameo and Pant's pyrotechnics towards the end took DC beyond the 200-run mark.

Pant unleashed havoc on Mohit in the last over, hitting the veteran bowler for four sixes and one four to pick up 31 runs.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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