Delhi Capitals 121 for 5 (Pant 53*, Mishra 3-17, Sodhi 3-26) beat Rajasthan Royals 115 for 9 (Riyan 50, Ishant 3-38) by five wickets
Ajinkya Rahane's decision to bat at the toss backfired as Rajasthan Royals failed to recover from Ishant Sharma's triple-strike in the Powerplay and were eliminated from IPL 2019. Delhi Capitals had a chance to finish top of the table if they'd chased 116 in 10 overs and though they couldn't do that, the five-wicket win still gives them a chance to finish in the top two, provided Kolkata Knight Riders beat Mumbai Indians in the final match of the league stage on Sunday.
He Shant be kept down for long
The 30-year-old fast bowler had been having a very lean campaign, fetching just three wickets in his last seven outings for the Capitals and had sat out their last match against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday. But after the 80-run thrashing meted out by MS Dhoni's men, Ishant was recalled and produced his best figures of the season: 3 for 38.
He struck the first blow, dismissing Rahane as the batsman picked out one of only two fielders allowed in the deep during the Powerplay. Later, Ishant flummoxed Liam Livingstone with a fabulous offcutter and bowled him for 14.
Sanju Samson was run-out following a big mix-up with Mahipal Lomror and Ishant made sure to send the survivor of that partnership back as well, leaving Royals 30 for 4 at the end of six overs.
Mishra's fourth time unlucky
Coming into the day, Amit Mishra had three IPL hat-tricks to his name and very easily could have had a fourth. On the second ball of the 12th over, Shreyas Gopal charged the legspinner who responded by dragging the length back and adjusting his line well wide of off stump, leaving the batsman flailing and stumped. Stuart Binny then played well away from his body edging a top-spinner behind for a golden duck. And K Gowtham, facing up to the hat-trick ball, played a bizarre slog tha went straight up.
No mid-off was in place, forcing Trent Boult to run across from mid-on for the chance. But even though he covered the ground in time, the usually sure-handed New Zealander grassed it, his last-second, full-length dive to the right proving of little use
It didn't matter much in the end as Mishra claimed Gowtham in his following over and Royals were suddenly 65 for 7. Riyan Parag ground through the rest of the innings, showing maturity beyond his years to become the youngest IPL half-centurion maker at age 17. Still, the total of 115 was severely under-par.
Far from So-so
Playing just his second match of the season for Royals, legspinner Ish Sodhi nearly inspired a thrilling fightback. Brought on in the fourth over, he struck on his first two balls as part of a double-wicket maiden.
Shikhar was beaten in flight as he charged out of his crease and the miscue was taken quite smartly by Riyan running back from mid-on. The non-striker Prithvi Shaw had crossed with the ball in the air and promptly dragged the next ball onto his stumps to put Sodhi on a hat-trick.
After seven consecutive dot balls by Sodhi, Shreyas Iyer wrestled the momentum back with two glorious straight drives for six. But it was Rishabh Pant who finished the game off.
Perhaps his finest shot came in the 15th over when he stepped inside the line to flick Varun Aaron over fine leg for six. With scores level, he belted Sodhi's first ball of the 17th over cow corner for his fifth six to bring up a 38-ball fifty, clinch victory and eliminate the opposition.