Dispatching the ball deep into the stands is in Rishabh Pant's "muscle memory" and that's why he doesn't need to look at who is bowling to him once he is in a mood to go hammer and tongs. Pant hit five sixes in his 21-ball-49 as he guided Delhi Capitals to a two-wicket victory in the IPL Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"In T20s, you need 40 off 20 or so, then you have to attack one bowler. I don't see who's bowling. It's in our muscle memory, and that's why we practise so much. Today, that was special because I didn't try to hit the ball too hard. I was just watching the ball, and I was trying to time the ball," Pant said.
Pant also mentioned that he ensured that the mindset remains positive when the team is going for improbable chases.
"If you are set on a wicket like this, you have to finish the match for your team. I took it very close, but next time I will finish it for the team. (Pressure) I just try to be positive. If your mindset is negative, it doesn't help," he added.
Prithvi Shaw, who scored the only half-century of the match thanked the support staff for keeping faith in him despite inconsistent performances.
"All this is dedicated to my team as they have backed me quite well. I wasn't scoring runs in the last few games. All thanks to support staff, players and coaches for believing in me and giving the opportunity as well. I was a bit nervous but my coaching staff helped me," Shaw said, having scored 56 off 38 balls.
"I believed in myself to get my form back and went in there and played my natural game. These kind of games I am always nervous. Rishabh batted beautifully. Whenever we needed him, he is always there for us." Their young captain Shreyas Iyer was also ecstatic.
"(Last over) I can't express my emotions. I was sitting and those last two overs were like a hell [laughs]. An amazing feeling (to win) and I could see the happiness in everyone's faces. The joy we share after winning was good."
Meanwhile, chasing a target of 163, Delhi Capitals, who had lost the way after a blazing start, were brought to cusp of victory by young Pant as West Indies' Paul finished it off the penultimate ball of the innings with a boundary off Khaleel Ahmed.
Pant, who resurrected the innings from a precarious 111 for 5 couldn't have chosen a better venue than chairman of selectors MSK Prasad's home ground to drive home a point on his much-debated World Cup exclusion.
It was a sense of deja vu for Paul, who had similarly hit winning runs in an U-19 World Cup final in 2016 when Khaleel was the bowler in the final over.
Delhi Capital now face Chennai Super Kings in the second Qualifier in their bid to make it to the maiden IPL final against Mumbai Indians.
Needing 34 from three overs, Pant showed brilliant game awareness to target Sunrisers' weakest link Basil Thampi, smashing him for 21 runs in the 18th over as he brought the game on even keel.
A six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought the equation down to five runs before Pant in his bid to finish the game was holed out with five required from seven balls.