IPL 10: Rishabh Pant’s 97 keeps Delhi’s boat floating

Delhi Daredevils needs to win its remaining four fixtures to stand a chance of featuring in the play-offs

Photo courtesy: Twitter\Delhi Daredevils
Photo courtesy: Twitter\Delhi Daredevils

Vikrant Jha

Delhi Daredevils successfully chased down Gujarat Lions’ 209 at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Thursday, courtesy some brilliant batting displays by Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson.


The win was Delhi’s third consecutive, after the Rahul Dravid-mentored side got off to a struggling start in this year’s edition. Delhi, however, needs to win the remaining four matches to stand any chance of qualifying for the play-off round.


The player of the match, Pant, partnered with Samson to add a match-winning 143 of just 61 balls for the third wicket as the home side chased down Gujarat Lions’ 209 with 15 balls to spare.


While Delhi would look to carry on the momentum gained in the last three matches to the remaining fixtures, Gujarat Lions, on the other hand, look certain to miss out on a place in the top four. Delhi will play table-toppers Mumbai Indians in their next encounter on Saturday.


Here are the defining moments of the match:


Lions’ batting reshuffle ploy

Gujarat Lions’ tactic of reshuffling their batting order didn’t really seem to go according to plans, even though the side managed a massive 208.


Ishan Kishan, who had scored 45 runs opening the innings in Gujarat’s last encounter, didn’t get another shot at opening the batting. On the other hand, West Indies’ Dwayne Smith and former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who started the proceedings, failed to click at the top. Australia’s Aaron Finch didn’t impress at number five either, though he had scored a 55 batting at number three previously.


Shreyas Iyer drops a sitter

When Suresh Raina was batting on just two, Shreyas Iyer dropped the easiest of catches at slip. The ball ballooned in the air after Raina failed to middle a pull shot, and Iyer made a mess of it.


However, Iyer was not the only culprit while fielding for the hosts. Marlon Samuels, who was playing his first match this season, dropped Raina twice. Raina capitalised on the dropped chances and scored 73 and, along with Dinesh Karthik (65), was the architect in setting up the total for his team.


And then a stunner in the field...

Delhi’s fielding had two halves in the match against Gujarat. While the first 10 overs saw easiest of chances being put down and misfields resulting in boundaries, the final 10 were a different story altogether.


Besides Delhi’s fielders having hung on to a couple of blinders in the field, they also made a few excellent saves in the outfield. However, the game-changing moment came in the 15th over, when Corey Anderson took a stunner to dismiss a set Dinesh Karthik.


Running backwards and then timing his jump to perfection, Anderson plucked the ball out of thin air. In the 19th over, Rishabh Pant followed in Anderson’s path and pulled off another screamer of a catch to dismiss Aaron Finch (27 of 19 balls), who otherwise was taking the game away from Delhi.


A fall of wicket for Delhi

How many times does a wicket end up befitting the batting team? Not often, for sure.


Karun Nair, who looked like regaining touch after previous match’s 39 of 20 balls against SRH opened the proceedings with Samson again.


However, when Nair fell cheaply on 12, the game turned completely in Delhi’s favour. It was not that Karun Nair was incapable of chasing the total down for his team, but when Pant joined Samson in the middle, what followed was absolute madness with the bat. Rishabh pant, who replaced Nair in the middle, scored a breathtaking 97 of just 44 balls and won the match for his team with sheer ease.


Pant-Samson mayhem at Kotla

The highlight of the match between Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions was the carnage that was launched by the young Indian pair of Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant. After the fall of Nair’s wicket, the pair never looked back as they made the target look like one of the easiest ever chased in the history of IPL.


Out of the required 208, Pant and Samson contributed 158 in just 74 balls which included 16 sixes and six fours. What Pant and Samson did in Kotla was absolute carnage.

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