Visakhapatnam: In yet another Indian Premier League contest which went down the wire, opener Prithvi Shaw's (56 off 38) valiant half-century followed by Rishabh Pant's (49 off 21) heroics helped Delhi Capitals register a thrilling two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator of the tournament here on Wednesday.
Despite the duo's valuable contribution, Delhi hobbled towards the death over. However, it was Keemo Paul's stunning boundary off Khaleel Ahmed's delivery on the second last delivery of their innings which helped Delhi pull a nail-biting victory and advance to the second Qualifier of the league, where they whill now face-off three-time champions Chennai Super Kings on Friday.
For Hyderabad, Khaleel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan bagged couple of wickets each.
Chasing the 163-run target, Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan took Delhi to a desired start as they added 25 runs in just three overs. The Delhi openers then notched up their 50-run stand in 5.4 overs as the Hyderabad bowlers struggled to get the early breakthrough.
Deepak Hooda gave Hyderabad a much needed respite as he finally broke the opening 66-run partnership after dismissing Dhawan (17 off 16) in the eighth over. Khaleel then stepped up to send Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer (8 off 10) back to the dug-out before he struck again to bring back Hyderabad in the contest as he soon accounted for the wicket of a well-settled Shaw in the 11th over, leaving Delhi at 87/3.
Shaw's knock was decorated with six boundaries and couple of hits into the stands.
Newcomer Pant and Colin Munro (14 off 13) then tried to put things back in control but could only manage to put 24 runs together before Rashid came with a breakthrough to claim Munro's wicket in the 15th over. The Afghan spinner then put Delhi in deep trouble as just in the very next delivery, he also sent back incoming batsman Axar Ptael, who failed to open his account.
Despite the jolts, Pant kept on clobbering the Hyderabad bowlers to help his side cross the 150-run mark in 17.5 overs. Bhuvneshwar then brought some twist in the story as he dismissed Sherfane Rutherford (9 off 12) and a dangerous Pant in the second last over, leaving Delhi five runs away from victory with three wickets in hand.
Pant's blistering innings was laced with two boundaries and five massive sixes.
With the game going down the wire, Delhi's Amit Mishra (1 off 2) also departed with three balls left and two runs still needed. While trying to take a quick single, Mishra ran completely in the middle of the wicket and the throw by Khaleel hit him after which Hyderabad went up for a caught-behind call and then for obstructing the field after which he was given out.
When it seemed Hyderabad would somehow restrict the Delhi side from a victory, their tailender Paul hammered Khaleel for a boundary on the penultimate delivery to help his team reach home in time.
Earlier, a collective batting effort had helped Hyderabad post a fighting 162/8.
Delhi bowlers did a good job to restrict their opponents at a modest total, thanks to Paul and Ishant Sharma, who bagged three and two wickets, respectively.
Put into bat, last year's runners-up Hyderabad were off to a decent start as thier scorecard read 31 for no loss in the first three overs with opener Martin Guptill (36 off 19) hammering Trent Boult for 15 runs in the third over.
However, Ishant drew the first blood in the next over, dismissing opener Wriddhiman Saha (8) who holed out to Iyer at mid-off.
Manish Pandey (30 off 36) then added 25 runs with Guptil to take their side past the 50-run mark. However, the partnership didn't last long as leggie Mishra struck to send back a dangerous looking Guptill in the seventh over.
Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson and Pandey then tried to anchor the innings but their slow stand saw their side placed at 71/2 after 10 overs. The duo added 34 runs before Paul came up with a breakthrough, accounting for Pandey.
Ishant then castled Williamson, leaving Hyderabad struggling at 111/4 in 15.5 overs. Vijay Shankar and Mohammad Nabi then chipped in with valuable knocks of 25 and 20, respectively, to take Hyderabad to 147 runs before the former fell in the 19th over. Nabi and Shankar hit some lusty blows towards the end to help Hyderabad post a fighting total.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 165/8 in 19.5 overs (Pritvi Shaw 56, Rishabh Pant 49; Rashid Khan 2/15) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 162/8 in 20 overs (Martin Guptill 36, Manish Pandey 30; Keemo Paul 3/32) by 2 wickets