Off the ten balls David lasted after that, he smashed 34 runs and swung the game decisively in Mumbai’s favour. According to ESPNcricinfo’s Luck Index, that non-review cost Capitals 17 runs, because had Pant taken the review, the other batters would have scored only 17, and not 34, off the ten extra balls David played. Eventually, Mumbai won with five balls to spare, knocking Delhi Capitals out of the playoffs.
“I thought there was something,” Pant told Star Sports after the game, “but everyone standing in the circle was not convinced enough. So I was asking them if we should go upstairs. In the end, I didn’t take the review.”
“It’s always hard to put your finger on one single aspect of the game,” he said at the post-match press conference. “I mean you can rewind the clock all the way back to the start of the game as well, when our top-order batting was so poor. I think we were four down for 30 or 40 early on. That’s not an ideal start to a T20 game either, especially a big game that we knew we had to win.
“Obviously, Tim David played well after he was probably out first ball but there are so many aspects of the game that we’ll be disappointed with and we’ll talk briefly about some of those tonight. But the important thing is the players have got to learn from games like that. At the end of the day, I feel pretty gutted that that game slipped through our hands when they needed over two runs a ball for probably the last seven or eight overs. So it’s disappointing on lots of fronts tonight.”
After the game, Ponting was seen having a chat with Pant. When asked what the two discussed, Ponting said: “I told him that I was pretty disappointed with what we served up tactically at the end of that game. The way that we bowled and the fields that were set, considering the conditions and type of players at the crease, I think we got a lot of those things wrong. That might have been the difference in the game, that might not have been, but as I said, I was quite disappointed with the way that game finished off. I’m disappointed with the way that our season finished off and I think that will probably leave a pretty sour taste in most of our mouths for the next 12 months until we can get back and do it all again.”
Ponting, however, backed Pant the captain, saying he was the “right person” for the job, and he is looking forward to working with him next year as well.
“Absolutely no doubt in my mind at all that Rishabh even the last season was the right choice for captaincy. When you wind the clock back, Shreyas [Iyer] dislocated his shoulder and Rishabh took over the captaincy and did a terrific job with the team. Last season, we finished on top of the table. We, unfortunately, lost the two final games. But look, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the right person.
“He’s just still a very young man. He’s still learning about the captaincy side of things. Being captain of a T20 team, especially in the IPL which is such a big and high-pressure tournament, is not an easy thing to do. And unfortunately, when you have his sort of profile, every single move you make, or every single move you don’t make, is going to be really heavily scrutinised. So he’s certainly got my full backing and looking forward to getting back and working together with him again next year hopefully.”
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo