A blistering unbeaten 128 by Rishabh Pant, the fifth highest score in T20 history, was not enough for Delhi in a must-win T20 2018 match against table-toppers Hyderabad at Kotla yesterday. He hit two sixes and eight fours. Pant, who was also involved in a couple of run-outs in the middle, admitted that the incidents inspired him to take additional responsibility.
While Patel was run out and Glenn Maxwell (9) fell cheaply again, Pant reached his maiden IPL hundred off 56 balls.
The southpaw's valuable 55-run partnership with Harshal Patel off just 37 balls for the fourth wicket that steadied the hosts' sinking ship.
Kane Williamson whips away a shot to the legside during the IPL. Delhi were tottering at 43/3 and also going at less than six runs per over and again the change in the opening partnership (Jason Roy replacing Colin Munro) didn't help the matters much and the continuing failure of the top order has been one of the reasons for Delhi's awful season. It's always tough chasing here. After a 38-ball 116 at the same ground four months back, this was another Pant special.
Talking about the only match of the day, Shikhar Dhawan returned to form in the hour of need as Hyderabad ended Delhi's play-off hopes with a thumping nine-wicket win. A bit of partnership at the top, which gave us the momentum. In the process, the lone area of concern for SRH - its batting and ability to chase down big totals - was also taken care of. I think when you are rotating the strike the boundaries start to come. But it was a night when Shikhar Dhawan's elegance trumped Rishabh Pant's power; experience scoring over youth.
The Delhi stumper, who became the youngest to 1000 IPL runs, immediately moved into the 90s when he clobbered Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan for a four and a six off consecutive balls before treating Bhuvneshwar Kumar with disdain. The batsman had a change of heart half-way down the pitch but by then it was too late for Iyer to get back safely into his crease at the non-striker's end.
Pant seemed to take his anger out on the ball and blasted sixes off Shakib al Hasan and Siddharth Kaul to get closer to the three-figure mark.