Rishabh Pant's Delhi Capitals capitalise on sticky GT home pitch for easy win at IPL 2024 | Crickit

Rishabh Pant's Delhi Capitals capitalise on sticky GT home pitch for easy win at IPL 2024

By, Mumbai
Apr 17, 2024 11:07 PM IST

Rishabh Pant’s side ease to a six-wicket win after the home side capitulate for 89 in Ahmedabad.

“A 100% black soil pitch, but it should still be a very good batting pitch with no real turn for the spinners”, Daren Ganga and Simon Katich said in their pitch report. The groundsman had told them to expect a total of 180-190. Experts can get it wrong. And we know the Ahmedabad pitch can make a mockery of punditry.

Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant and Gujarat Titans player Rashid Khan greet each other after Delhi won the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket match (PTI)
Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant and Gujarat Titans player Rashid Khan greet each other after Delhi won the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket match (PTI)

Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant admitted he wasn’t all that sure how the “unknown” in the wicket would play out and inserted Gujarat Titans on Wednesday. What followed was a total contrast to the runathons we have become so accustomed to seeing in IPL. The pitch was slower, the ball gripped for the seamers and offered spin. By no means was it unplayable. However, the home side could never recalibrate the strategy.

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After the powerplay they were down to 30/4, and they were 61/6 at the halfway mark before folding up for 89 in 17.3 overs. It was more the total teams had been posting inside the first six overs in recent matches by exploiting field restrictions to the maximum.

It could be said that GT batters could have tried to hit straighter. But credit to DC pacers that they bowled a fuller length throughout the early overs. But batting was hard work. As if the fans already knew, the Narendra Modi stadium wasn’t a packed house. The viewership numbers during live streaming remained low too.

Lively Pant

Tristan Stubbs came out to speak at the innings break, having been one of the productive bowlers of the day. His one over of part-time spin produced two stumpings.

Both were effected by Pant, who seemed to have returned to his best form with gloves. He took two catches too, was diving around, constantly communicating with his bowlers and giggling. No wonder the broadcast amped up the stump mic. When Kuldeep Yadav had a go at Mukesh Kumar for too strong a throw from the infield, Pant would yell ‘gussa nahin’ (don’t get angry).

GT would have expected better, coming into the match with their playing eleven regulars – Wriddhiman Saha and David Miller -- returning. It gave their team a more settled look, but only on paper as it turned out.

Unfortunately for GT, before they could get the hang of the wicket, they lost their strongest batter in Shubman Gill (8). The GT captain tried to repeat the dose after hitting Ishant Sharma to the square boundary on the off-side, but the crafty fast bowler pitched it fuller the second time and the edge went straight to the covers.

Once pacer Mukesh Kumar saw some assistance off the surface, he knew the length he had to hit. He got Saha (2) to drag one back on to the stumps. Sai Sudharsan (12) was run out soon after. And Ishant produced another sharp delivery from around the wicket, catching Miller’s (2) inside edge to a diving Pant’s hands.

With the ball holding off the surface, Pant was quick to introduce spin. Watching Kuldeep trouble the batters, he made the smart call to bring on Stubbs with his off-spin in the eighth over itself. Left-hander Rahul Tewatia could have been the target, but he got the two powerful right-handers Abhinav Manohar and Shahrukh Khan out stumped. In their eight overs of spin, Kuldeep and Axar Patel managed only wicket although they conceded only 33 runs together.

GT’s first six of the day came from Rashid Khan’s blade in the 17th over. The Afghanistan all-rounder tried to engage in some late hitting, to try and provide a fighting total for himself and fellow spinner Noor Ahmed. But when Mukesh (2.3-0-14-3) foiled Rashid’s upper cut to dismiss him on 31 (24b, 2x4, 1x6), it crushed the home side’s hopes.

There were a few jitters for DC in pursuit of 90 as they lost four wickets but Pant was there at the end with an unbeaten 16 to take them to safety, achieving the target in 8.5 overs, giving their net run rate a much-required boost. DC have climbed to sixth on the points table with three wins in seven matches, the same as GT, who are now seventh. Gill called his team’s batting performance “average”.

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