There was no good way through the rubble for Riyan Parag. Every time he might have thought he could spark a recovery, wickets would go down. Rajasthan Royals were actually very lucky to finish the innings without conceding a hat-trick. But they did get through the 20 overs and it was largely thanks to a 17-year old boy.
A 17-year old boy who became the youngest to hit an IPL fifty.
ALSO READ: Riyan Parag and the Royals rookies
"The way he batted, even in the first game that he played, he probably taught a lot to the experienced players a little something out there, even myself." That was Steven Smith, noted for being among the best batsmen of this generation, talking about Parag after just a glimpse. We got a little more in Delhi as he did the only thing he could - bat long and pick the bowlers he wanted to attack. For all of Ishant Sharma's new-found abilities, he still runs into trouble in the final overs of a T20, and Parag took 18 runs off the fast bowler to make a dismal total look just a bit less so.
Ishant's new skillz
At one time in Ishant's life, he basically scared Ricky Ponting. And that is when the Australian was at his ultimate best. Back then, the fast bowler had one strength - straightening the ball against the angle - and coupling that with the bounce he normally gets he became India's great fast-bowling hope.
Now the pace is down, but the skills have gone up. Take Liam Livingstone's wicket today. Ishant understood the pitch was slow and low. He also knew the man he was facing liked pace on the ball. So he just took everything off it and made him literally buckle down in defeat as an offcutter slipped through bat and pad and bowled him.
Ishant wasn't picked to play the last IPL. This IPL, he's one of the best Powerplay bowlers.
Why the chase was the way the chase was
Delhi Capitals could have gone to the top of the table on net run-rate had they chased down 116 in 10 overs, and while that may have looked very possible in modern day T20 cricket, there were a couple of deterrents.
The slow and spin-friendly Feroz Shah Kotla hasn't allowed batsmen to score at rapid pace in IPL 2019. Even before today, they'd only managed a rate of 7.1 runs per over there - the second-worst after Chepauk.
Also, the Capitals have been dealing with middle-order problems all tournament. Their Nos 4 to 7 came in averaging a mere 19 and were major culprits in a collapse of 7 for 8 earlier in the tournament.
If this had to be done, it had to be done by the top three, and when Ish Sodhi removed Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw in the fourth over, plans had to change. Besides, the net run-rate of the Chennai Super Kings, the team currently at No. 1, could easily change as they play their final game of the season tomorrow.
With inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman and Dustin Silgardo