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Pant to miss crucial game against RCB due to over-rate suspension

Delhi Capitals appealed the suspension but the match referee's decision was upheld by the BCCI ombudsman

Rishabh Pant had a tough day as captain, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Capitals, IPL 2024, Kolkata, April 29, 2024

Rishabh Pant will miss the match against RCB on Sunday  •  AFP/Getty Images

Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant has been suspended for one match for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct after his team maintained a slow over-rate during the match against Rajasthan Royals in Delhi on May 7. It was Pant's third over-rate penalty this IPL and, as a result, he will miss DC's crucial fixture against Royal Challengers Bengaluru, at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. Axar Patel will lead DC in Pant's absence, with both teams desperately needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"Axar Patel will be our captain tomorrow," DC's head coach Ricky Ponting said on the eve of the match in Bengaluru. "He's obviously been vice-captain of this franchise now for the last couple of seasons. Obviously very experienced IPL player, experienced international player, very sensible guy, understands the game really well. He's really excited, to be honest. We started talking about it a couple of days ago when there was a possibility that Rishabh might be banned, so he's got his head around it, we've done our bowlers' meetings today. He'll catch up with all the guys tonight, go through all the plans, and make sure he's ready to lead the team well tomorrow. What I know about him is, you've only got to watch the way he goes about his cricket to understand that he is a sensible guy that's always involved and in tune with the game, so I'm sure he'll lead the team really well tomorrow."
Pant was also fined INR 30 lakh while the rest DC's playing XI in that game, including the Impact Player, were fined either INR 12 lakh or 50% of their match fees, whichever is lower. A BCCI release said DC filed an appeal challenging the ruling of the match referee, following which the issue was referred to the board's ombudsman for review. The ombudsman conducted a virtual hearing and upheld the match referee's decision. Along with Pant, DC's director of cricket Sourav Ganguly, Ponting, and CEO Sunil Gupta were at the hearing.
In their appeal, DC cited multiple reasons for the delay, including that the RR batters had hit 13 sixes and that the Sanju Samson dismissal had consumed extra time. However, it was ruled that there was no statistical information submitted explaining exactly how much time was additionally consumed by these events. Each team in the IPL is allowed 85 minutes (4.25 minutes per over) to complete their 20 overs. In the match against RR, DC took 117.82 minutes to complete their 20 overs, which was in violation of the minimum over-rate requirements under the Code of Conduct.
"As a team, we've obviously known for six, seven, eight games now that he's [Pant] been on the two strikes, so there was a chance," Ponting said. "We could have actually stood him down from the captaincy to potentially stop this happening, but at the end of the day, like it or not, it's the captain's responsibility - the time that's taken out on the field. He hasn't got full control over everything and I think, circumstantially, he was probably a little unlucky in the last game where, going into Khaleel's last over, the over that Khaleel bowled the four wides in, at that stage of the game we were only three minutes behind. So if Khaleel bowls a regulation over there without the extra balls and then Kuldeep bowls the next over and gets a wicket, like he did, we would have got all of our time back. So the fact that Khaleel's over went for nine minutes put us further behind and then, that late in the game, there's no way you can drag your time back.
"Once the game is started and the innings is started, when you get behind at the halfway mark, 10-over mark - if you're four or five minutes down in a tight game, you're never going to pick your time up, and that's one thing we've been really conscious of talking to all the boys about. It is what it is for us now. Rishabh's not there, one of the best players in this particular IPL, I think our leading run-scorer, to have him not there is a loss for us, but it's also a great challenge for everybody else. Knowing that our captain is not there, our rock in the middle order is not there, but it presents an opportunity to somebody and it makes the other guys that are in the team now have to work that little bit harder to make sure they get the job and the result done for the team."
DC are among the eight teams fighting for playoffs qualification and will need to win their remaining fixtures - and have other results go their way - to be in contention. They are currently fifth on the table with 12 points and a net run rate of -0.316.