In just over a week’s time, Delhi Capitals crashed from the high of being perched at the top of IPL 2021 points table to witness their campaign ending with back-to-back defeats in the playoffs. A team that was by far the best of the lot across the two legs of the elongated season, failed to show up when it mattered the most as they first lost to Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1 and then endured a heart-breaking defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in Qualifier 2 - a team that was struggling in the first phase of the campaign
After posting a middling 135/5 in the second qualifier against KKR in Sharjah on Wednesday, DC were sure they were hurtling towards a one-sided defeat before their pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje brought them back into the contest in dramatic fashion. And then Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets in as many deliveries in the last over in defense of seven runs to raise their hopes.
Highlights, Qualifier 2: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Capitals
But they were crushed in an instant with Rahul Tripathi hitting a six off the penultimate delivery to take his team over the line.
The disappointment was evident on DC captain Rishabh Pant’s face who was lost for words with the way his team’s campaign ended on a heart-breaking note.
“I don’t have words to express at the moment, can’t tell anything," Pant responded when questioned about his thoughts on the defeat by the broadcasters after the match. “We just kept believing, tried to stay in the game as long as possible. The bowlers nearly pulled it back, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t go our way."
Pant said the failure of his batters to rotate the strike in the middle-overs left them with little to defend. “They (KKR) bowled very well in the middle-overs, we got stuck and couldn’t rotate strike," he said.
However, Pant is hopeful their title end will end next year. “Delhi Capitals are known to be positive and hopefully we’ll come back better next season. We played really good cricket. There will be ups and downs, but we’ll stay positive and be there for each other, care for each other. Hopefully, we’ll come back better next season," he said.