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Pant, Axar star in DC’s nervy final-over win over GT

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Delhi Capitals rode on their captain’s incredible knock of 88 from 43 balls to eke out a narrow four-run victory over Gujarat Titans, despite the best efforts of Sai Sudharsan, David Miller and Rashid Khan to stop the hosts from doing the double over them. Pant’s knock, alongwith Axar Patel’s essay (66 off 43) and Tristan Stubbs’s late cameo (26 off 7) turbo-charged DC’s innings well past the 200-run mark, and yet proved to be just about enough to pick the two points in the end.

Where was the match won?

GT started the game better and matched DC through the middle overs, but the backend carnage that saw DC smash 11 sixes in the last five overs made the difference. 22 off the 19th over and 31 off the last pushed DC to a total they weren’t even close to getting just a few overs before. GT fell short despite smashing at 14.6 in the last five overs, reiterating the importance of the finish DC got with the bat on the night.

The death-overs difference

Parameters DC GT
Score 97/1 73/3
Run-rate 19.4 14.6
4s/6s 4/11 6/7

Delhi Capitals

PowerPlay: Sandeep Warrier and the Afghan duo rattle the hosts

Phase score: 44/3 [RR: 7.34, 4s/6s: 5/2]

Jake Fraser-McGurk flirted with danger like he always does, and succeeded until the fourth over when his big flick went straight to Noor Ahmad at deep square leg. Three balls later, Prithvi Shaw went for a pull and was sent back by Noor’s incredible forward-diving catch at the same position. Sandeep Warrier bowled a third over to close out the PowerPlay and had his third wicket as Shai Hope mistimed a big hit and Rashid Khan ran in from deep point to complete another sharp catch. Warrier ended the phase with 3 for 15 in 3 overs, and DC limped to 44/3.

Middle Overs: Axar, Pant counter attack

Phase score: 83/0 [RR: 9.20, 4s/6s: 9/3]

The move to promote Axar to No.3 worked well for DC as he joined forces with his captain to take down spin in the middle overs. Between them, Rashid and Noor conceded 57 off 6 overs. They constantly resorted to wrong ‘uns but both Axar and Pant read them well. Mohit Sharma’s slower ones didn’t work either as runs came off the quicks too. Both the batters targetted the leg side boundary against the slower bowlers, with Axar reaching 50 off 37 balls in this phase.

Death Overs: Sixes galore as DC breach 200

Phase score: 97/1 [RR: 19.4, 4s/6s: 4/11]

Pant kickstarted the death-overs proceedings with a helicopter-like whip for a six off Mohit. He tonked one over extra cover in the same over, which fetched 16 runs. Noor was trusted to bowl in the death and Axar welcomed it with two big sixes, but also fell in the 14-run over, for an excellent 66 off 43 balls. Stubbs walked out with a similar wavelength, adding to the six barrage. He smashed two fours and two sixes off R Sai Kishore, who intriguingly bowled his first over of the match in the 19th and gave away 22 runs. Pant then demolished Mohit in the last, taking 31 off it. The GT pacer finished with the most expensive bowling figures in IPL history – 0 for 73 – with Pant smashing 62 of those in 18 balls. The DC captain finished with a whirlwind knock of 88* from just 43 balls, including 5 fours and 8 sixes.

Gujarat Titans

PowerPlay: Saha, Sai Sudharsan make fast start

Phase score: 67/1 [RR: 11.16, 4s/6s: 10/2]

Wriddhiman Saha made the most of a fast outfield to hit five fours to get 33 off 15 in this phase. DC made the big early incision with the wicket of Shubman Gill, but Sai Sudharsan – their impact substitute, started with a six and kept up the tempo. He hit another six and added four fours by the end of the phase. He also had the rub of the green on his side as Axar dropped a simple catch at mid-on to let the left-hander off. This was GT’s second best PowerPlay score in their brief existence.

Middle Overs: Rasikh Salam puts the brakes with wickets

Phase score: 80/4 [RR: 8.88, 4s/6s: 7/2]

Two splendid catches put the brakes on GT’s progress in the middle-overs. First, Axar atoned for his earlier drop with a well-timed jump to take a sharp catch at cover to end Saha’s innings. Then, Fraser-McGurk took a Noor-like blinder – running in from deep square leg and diving forward to see the back of Azmatullah Omarzai. Sudharsan however, kept his foot on the pedal, getting a 29-ball half-century. Medium-pacer Salam, DC’s impact sub, clipped the southpaw’s wings, as Sudharsan holed out to Axar at long-off. Great reflexes from Pant sent Shahrukh Khan packing and GT five down in Salam’s next over, leaving GT to chase 78 in the final five overs.

Death Overs: Miller, Sai Kishore, Rashid fly, but GT fall short

Phase score: 73/3 [RR: 14.60, 4s/6s: 6/7]

Kuldeep added an extra mile to GT’s big climb at the death as he conceded five and took out Rahul Tewatia in the 16th over. David Miller, however, narrowed the gap between balls remaining and runs required by taking 24 off his national side compatriot Anrich Nortje. DC could feel the pressure as Abishek Porel spilt a tough catching chance at deep square leg off Rashid Khan, but Salam did well at long on to end Miller’s flying knock – of 55 from just 23 balls. That wicket was expected to end GT’s chase but it didn’t. Sai Kishore swung for the fences and connected each time, smashing two sixes off Salam before getting bowled by the same bowler. Rashid brought the equation down from 19 off 6 to 5 off 1, but couldn’t get his team over the line despite some fabulous hitting.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 224/4 in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant 88*, Axar Patel 66; Sandeep Warrier 1-15) lost to Gujarat Titans 220/8 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharsan 65, David Miller 55, Rashid Khan 21*; Rasikh Salam 3-44, Kuldeep Yadav 2-29) by 4 runs

What next for the teams?

Delhi Capitals next host the Mumbai Indians at home on Saturday (April 27). GT welcome a struggling RCB for an afternoon fixture in Ahmedabad on Sunday (April 28).

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