Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant was visibly emotional after his team was knocked out of IPL 2021 as Kolkata Knight Riders won the nail-biter second qualifier by three wickets at a Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
What seemed like a stroll in the park for KKR at one stage suddenly became like a marathon but Rahul Tripathi, who smashed a six on the penultimate ball, made sure his team got over the finishing line.
Pant, who was struggling to find his words after a close loss, said that the middle overs in which Delhi batters could not get going was the match-defining moment. Delhi had a sedate start in the powerplay overs and they could not get any kind of momentum on a slow and low Sharjah pitch.
The KKR spinners were able to get a stranglehold of Delhi batters as they huffed and puffed for their runs. In fact, Delhi was able to get the finishing touches from Shimron Hetmyer (17 off 10) and Shreyas Iyer (30 from 27) as they ended with 135 runs on the board.
But KKR was always cruising to the total after Ventakesh Iyer and Shubman Gill added 96 runs for the opening alliance. KKR almost made a mess of the run-chase as they lost six wickets for seven runs and slipped from 123-1 to 130-7.
Rishabh Pant said in the post-match presentation, “I don’t have words to express at the moment, can’t tell anything. We just kept believing, tried to stay in the game as long as possible. The bowlers nearly pulled it back, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t go our way. They bowled very well in the middle-overs, we got stuck and couldn’t rotate strike. Delhi Capitals are known to be positive and hopefully, we’ll come back better next season. We played really good cricket, yes, there will be ups and downs, but we’ll stay positive, be there for each other, care for each other, and hopefully, we’ll come back better next season”.
Meanwhile, Delhi was magnificent throughout the tournament but could not bring their best in the two qualifying matches against CSK and KKR. Rishabh Pant can be proud of his team for their impressive run and they will aim to bounce back even stronger in the next season.
In fact, Delhi did a great job in almost making the match of it as KKR required 11 runs off 21 balls and should have achieved the target easily but there were a lot of hiccups.
KKR will now face CSK in the IPL 2021 final on Friday.