IPL 2024: Rishabh Pant dispels fears and Prithvi Shaw instils hope on Resurrection Sunday | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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IPL 2024: Rishabh Pant dispels fears and Prithvi Shaw instils hope on Resurrection Sunday

Apr 01, 2024 01:06 PM IST

Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw played very different innings, both promising to give them and Delhi Capitals a lot more assurance.

Great tidings came Delhi Capitals' way last night. It was a great outing by all means. Quite a few boxes were ticked. First and foremost, Rishabh Pant’s men registered their first win of the season against one of the best teams in Indian Premier League history, none other than Chennai Super Kings that, to date, continues to feed off former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Rishabh Pant (L) and Prithvi Shaw in full flow. (AP Photos)
Rishabh Pant (L) and Prithvi Shaw in full flow. (AP Photos)

Second, Pant, whose batting in the first two matches was heart-breaking – to say the least - burst into life against Ruturaj Gaikwad’s team at Visakhapatnam. Third, Prithvi Shaw appeared a changed man in his first game for the team this season.

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Pant’s 51 off 32 balls proved to be decisive in the context of the game. His striking against Matheesha Pathirana and Mustafizur Rahman was particularly important.

The Sri Lankan fast bowler had, to all intents and purposes, derailed the Delhi innings with wickets off successive balls. Those yorkers, bowled at 150kmph, were fast and furious and Michell Marsh and Tristan Stubbs were helpless.

At that point, Delhi were realistically looking at 170-odd which has not been a match-winning score more often than not this edition. From 18th and 19th overs bowled by Rahman and Pathirana, Pant, against all odds, picked up two sixes and three fours to provide his team with extra 20 runs, which proved to be a game changer eventually.

Pant’s return to good runs is not only a piece of news that only Delhi fans would welcome. From the Indian team's point of view too, it was great news. After a horrific car crash in December 2022, Pant had not played any competitive cricket heading into this season and fans were wondering if he could be resourceful again at the international level.

If truth be told, he didn’t look very good in the first two games against Punjab Kings (18 off 13 balls) and Rajasthan Royals (28 off 26 balls). At times, it appeared he couldn’t read the line of the ball the way you would normally expect him to, filling one with anxiety that probably he wasn’t the same Pant who bowlers all over the world dreaded not long ago. That the Hero of the Gabba was not the same.

Fans would breathe a big sigh of relief after watching him do what he did particularly against those two world-class pace bowlers. He is still not a 100 percent but at least he appeared to getting there last night. When he starts to hit 85-90m sixes regularly, it will be the first major sign that he is closer to where he was before his horrendous car accident.

The most assuring Shaw has looked in a while

Shaw too played an important role in the win. To begin with, he didn’t get out early on as has happened so many times in the past. Besides, he looked careful, not trying to be flashy but trying to be useful, looking to contribute to the team’s cause. His 43 off 27 balls that saw him unsettle Ravindra Jadeja should help him going forward. It was Easter Sunday and Shaw appeared to choose an important day to resurrect himself.

There was a time when he drew comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag and both fans and experts had great hopes for him, but then inexplicably, he fell from grace. Hopefully, his innings would be an end to a long-continuing nightmare for him. Looking at his careful approach, hopefully, he will be consistent going forward. Inconsistency has always been his issue.

Another thing that would have gladdened the hearts of fans is that he was constantly seeking advice from his opening partner David Warner. In the past, Shaw has been accused of not listening to senior players and working on his game accordingly.

All in all, Delhi will be extremely pleased with their performance. If they can continue in the same vein in the next few matches, it will certainly open up the league. That’s what everyone would welcome, be it fans or organisers.

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