The heroes of their chase were two young turks – 19 year old Prithvi Shaw and 21 year old Rishabh Pant.
Set 163 for victory, Shaw got off to a slow start (even as Shikhar Dhawan attacked from the other end) and scored just 2 runs off his first 6 deliveries. With his eye in he then pulled Khaleel Ahmed for two successive boundaries to long on and mid-wicket before smashing him through the covers and picked 13 off the 3rd over.
He was given a reprieve (when on 15) off the bowling of Mohammad Nabi as Basil Thampi dropped him at mid-off. Shaw did not look back.
An exquisite cover drive to the boundary, an upper cut into the stands over third man followed by a slap over mid-off for another 4 – Shaw clobbered Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 17 in the 5th over. DC had raced to 55 without loss at the end of the powerplay. Shaw had dominated the partnership with 39 runs off just 24 deliveries.
He registered just his second fifty of the season off just 31 deliveries and was finally dismissed for 56 off 38 deliveries including 6 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Shaw hasn’t had a great season after scoring a magnificent 99 in just 55 balls against KKR over five weeks ago. He has aggregated 348 runs in 15 innings at an average of 23.20 and strike rate of 134.88
Pant joined Shaw at the crease at the fall of Shreyas Iyer’s wicket in the 11th over. DC got their second setback of the over when Khaleel saw the back of Shaw. 76 were needed off the last 9 overs at 8.44 per over.
Pant announced himself with a huge six off Nabi over long on. Some splendid restrictive bowling including a double-wicket maiden from Rashid Khan meant that DC required 52 off the last 5 overs with 5 wickets in hand. Pant was unbeaten on 12 of 8 deliveries.
The situation was set for Pant to put on a show. And he did not disappoint!
Just 4 runs had come off the first 4 deliveries of the 16th over bowled by Nabi. The required rate was creeping up. Pant decided to unleash. He clobbered Nabi for a six over long-on to relieve some pressure. 42 were still needed off the final 4.
Bhuvneshwar conceded just 8 off the 17th – 34 were needed off the last 3 overs.
It was time for the Pant Show!
He clubbed Thampi for a straight boundary to long-off and followed that with a heave over mid-wicket for a six. He then whipped another boundary to long-leg before depositing a length ball again into the deep mid-wicket stands. 4,6,4,6 – Pant had changed the course of the match in a matter of just 4 deliveries. The equation had been reduced to 12 off 12 balls.
Though Pant threw his wicket away and did not finish the match and DC did face a few anxious moments at the end, it was his cameo of 49 off just 21 deliveries – including 5 towering sixes – which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides. DC won by two wickets off the penultimate ball of the match.
Pant has blown hot and cold this season. He has played three match-winning innings and has aggregated 450 runs in 15 innings at an average of 37.5 and strike rate of 163.63 in IPL 2019. He has registered six 30-plus scores (which include three fifties and two 40s) but also been dismissed for below 20 on as many as 7 occasions.
What makes Shaw and Pant similar and dangerous, both, is their ability to hit boundaries and score at a rapid strike rate – while Shaw scored 64.28% of his runs in boundaries against SRH, the corresponding percentage for Pant was at 77.55.
Shaw gave the chase the impetus it needed at the start before the likes of Rashid came into play in the middle overs. Pant’s blitzkrieg at the end finished it off.
First Published: May 9, 2019, 1:39 AM IST