NEW DELHI: Prithvi Shaw, unlucky to miss a hundred by one run, proved yet again that the faith the national selectors have reposed in him by catapulting him into the Test side at just 19, has perfectly valid reasons. His swashbuckling innings on Saturday brought Delhi Capitals (DC) back from the dead and take their game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) into the Super Over at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
The Super Over, however, revealed the lack of hard-hitters in the DC camp as they could muster just 10 off a Prasidh Krishna over. But then South African paceman Kagiso Rabada stepped up to restrict KKR to just seven and helped DC register a win in a game that see-sawed till the end.
Prithvi’s knock of 99 (55 balls; 12×4, 3×6) was built of classic, cricketing shots that had finesse and timing and contrasted the blitzkrieg of Andre Russell who had given KKR the advantage earlier.
Chasing 186 target on a wicket that had been described as slow always needed assuredness on the mental front and a good reading of the surface.
Perhaps the ease with which Russell had gone about his task in the company of Dinesh Karthik in the first half, had given a hint that if the reading of the length was right there were runs for the taking.
The experienced Shikhar Dhawan failed on that count as he lobbed a catch to mid-off.
It was then left to the young duo of Shaw and skipper Shreyas Iyer, both Mumbai mates, to parry. And they did it fearlessly taking on the likes of current India international Kuldeep Yadav, hammering him for 33 off two overs, including 20 off his second.
Kuldeep swatted away, the rest were easy pickings. They had already milked the X factor in the KKR side, Russell, on way to adding 89 runs in 9.2 overs for the second wicket. By the time Russell managed to remove Iyer, caught at the boundary by a well-balanced Shubman Gill, the match was within DC’s grasp.
Prithvi had looked good in the earlier games too and although he impressed with his exquisite pull shots, he failed to convert the starts. On Saturday, he hung on to deliver with the ball came just at the pace he wanted. His straight-ish pull that was caught at mid-on in the last game, was fruitful this time.
As the innings unfolded the drives through the off began to overshadow his pulls and then came a straight drive. His wicket and that of Pant though allowed hara-kiri in DC camp. They lost their way despite needing 18 off 18 balls and 6 off the last over. Kuldeep returned in the last over to give away just five and tie the game.
His big innings wouldn’t have been needed had DC not been under Russell’s hammer earlier on in the first half. The perfect, quick yorker that Chris Morris had promised to deliver to contain Andre Russell ahead of this tie came only once, in the 15th over without any yield as the ebullient West Indian took KKR to a strong 185/7.