Pant’s demotion worked against DC

Pant batted at five when his team needed 235 runs to win the match. (Source:

When a team is chasing a big total, say in excess of 200, it has to make decisions that work in their favour. Of course, a lot of things have to fall in place for the decisions to work. But it all starts with decision-making. While much has been said about the final over by Anrich Nortje, which proved to be the difference between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, another incident stood out as odd. Rishabh Pant didn’t come out to bat until the third wicket fell.

Having smashed two back-to-back half-centuries, Pant should’ve come in earlier. He has been DC’s best batter this season so far. They needed his magic to chase the target down. Many expected him to come in early, especially after DC lost David Warner. Mitchell Marsh was not playing. In his absence, many thought Pant would promote himself to No. 3.

But that didn’t happen. Abishek Porel walked in and, to be fair to him, he fared decently. After Prithvi Shaw got out, Tristan Stubbs walked in at No. 4 ahead of Pant, to maintain the left-right combination. Stubbs did justice to his promotion as he smashed runs at a blistering strike-rate of 284.

It was baffling to see Pant coming in after 15 overs were done. The pressure of the required run rate was on him and his stay at the crease lasted three balls. For DC to chase the daunting total of 235, Pant had to face the maximum number of balls. After losing Warner early, Pant should’ve come in. That would not have disturbed the right-left combination. Both Shaw and Abishek batted well, but they consumed too many balls as the pressure of the required rate increased on the lower-order batters.

We’ve seen in the past how dangerous Pant can be if he’s allowed time to settle in, assess the wicket, and go after the bowling. That didn’t happen against MI. Who took the decision to hold back Pant is another matter. Had he come in at No. 3, a win was not guaranteed. But perhaps, DC could have come closer.

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