Delhi Capitals needed 34 runs off the last three overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Rishabh Pant was striking the ball well from one end, and all SRH needed was his wicket. It was hard to pick a favourite.
It was a nail-biting finish at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam. Delhi Capitals somehow managed to chase Sunrisers Hyderabad's 162-run total down on the penultimate delivery of the game. Like an old-fashioned wall clock's pendulum, the match kept swinging from one side to the other, and it was hard to pick a winner until that last run was scored.
Delhi won the toss and elected to bowl on a slow pitch. It was an interesting call as teams mostly like to put runs on the board in a big game. SRH got off to a good start as Martin Guptill took on Delhi's bowling attack and scored 39 runs off just 19 balls.
But as Delhi's skipper Shreyas Iyer introduced his spinners, it became difficult for the SRH batsmen to accumulate runs. Axar Patel and Amit Mishra bowled well in tandem. The day belonged to Mishra as he gave away just 16 runs in his four overs and took the important wicket of Guptill.
SRH skipper Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey strung together a 34-run partnership for the third wicket, but they never really got going due to the slow and gripping nature of the wicket and good bowling by the Delhi spinners. However, Mohammad Nabi and Vijay Shankar played very good cameos in the end for Hyderabad and scored 45 runs off 24 balls among themselves.
In reply, Delhi also got off to a cracking start thanks for Prithvi Shaw, who hit 56 runs off 38 balls, and put Delhi in a strong position before falling to Khaleel Ahmed on the last ball of the 11th over. But, after his wicket, just like Delhi's spinners, SRH's Afghan-attack pulled the game back a bit by sneaking in dot balls and taking crucial wickets.
Delhi Capitals needed 34 runs off the last three overs. Rishabh Pant was striking the ball well from one end, and all SRH needed was his wicket. It was hard to pick a favourite. But that is where Williamson made a big mistake. Khaleel, who had two overs left, was ignored by Williamson and Basil Thampi was given the duty of bowling the 17th over.
Khaleel is ranked fourth in the list of the highest wicket-takers in IPL 2019. He had taken 19 wickets in just nine matches, and ended IPL 2019 as SRH's best bowler.
Against Delhi, Khaleel had taken two wickets, including the wicket of Shaw, to bring SRH back in the game. Captains usually prefer going with their in-form and experienced bowlers, but the SRH captain went with his gut feeling and gave the ball to Thampi, who conceded 22 runs in his over as Pant tore into him.
It was a strange decision by Williamson, and a very costly one, too.
Last Updated 3:51 PM IST