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Maruding Rishabh Pant knocks Gujarat Lions out of IPL, keeps Delhi afloat

Pant hit a sensational 43-ball 97 to guide Delhi Daredevils to a comfortable seven-wicket win.

Harpal Singh Bedi | New Delhi |

Young Rishab Pant (97) led the mayhem and Sanju Samson (61) was the willing collaborator as the two blew the Gujarat Lions attack to smithereens to help Delhi Daredevils record a thumping seven-wicket win and stay afloat in the IPL 2017 at Feroz Shah Kotla here on Thursday.   

It rained sixes and drizzled boundaries as the hosts riding on the 143-run second-wicket partnership between Pant and Samson knocked the Lions out of the league.

Delhi now have eight points from ten matches while Gujarat have six points from 11 matches and are out of the race.

The hosts made light off Gujarat Lions formidable total of 208 for seven as they chased down the target, piling up 214 for 3 in 17.3 overs.

In the process, this 42nd match of the IPL set a new record of 31 sixes, erasing the nine-year-old record of 25 sixes in a match between Kings Xi Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, where 16 boundaries were recorded.

In a masterly display of an attacking batting, Pant and Samson, made a mockery of the 209-run target as they preferred sending the ball into the stands than hitting the fence.

Gujarat hit 11 sixes and 16 boundaries in their innings and in reply Delhi, came up with 20 sixes and eight boundaries.

After the early departure of Karun Nair, when the score was 24, Pant joined Sanju Samson and such was the ferocity of their attack that the bowlers scurried for cover which they could not find, Pant was unlucky to miss the century by three runs. His knock of 97 included nine sixes and six boundaries.

Sanju Samson followed him when the score was 179. His 31-ball knock was studded with seven sixes. Corey Anderson hoisted Falkner for a six to earn Delhi their fourth win.  

Earlier, skipper Suresh Raina’s sparkling 43-ball 77 and his 133–run third-wicket partnership with wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik revived Gujarat Lions innings after visitors lost their openers off successive balls in the second over of the match.  

This was Gujarat’s first century stand in this IPL and helped the side pile up 208 for 7.

Put into bat, Gujarat were off to a disastrous start as they lost Brendon McCullum (1) off the first ball of the second over. The opener tried to hit out fast bowler Kagiso  Rabada but miscued his shot and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant made a super drive at his right to take a fine catch.

Very next ball, another opener Dwayne Smith (9, 4b, 2×4 ) went back to his dugout as he failed to regain his crease before Shahbaz Nadeem’s throw hit the stumps. The visitors at that stage were 10 for 2 in 1.2 overs.

This lapse proved costly for the hosts as Raina in the company of Dinesh Karthik sent the bowlers on a leather hunt after that.

Raina again survived when the visitors were 55 for two and batsman on 3. He was dropped by Samuels off Shami. After that, there was no looking back for Raina and Karthik as the two plundered runs at will hitting the bowlers for sixes and fours all over the ground.

The Gujarat skipper went for big shots and collared the bowlers, blasting four sixes and five boundaries. He hit Shami over mid-wicket for a six and then hoisted Rabada over long-on for the maximum. He then punished Samuels sending over the cover and long-on in the same over.

Karthik on the other end, also came heavy on Amit Mishra as he smashed the bowler over mid-wicket then thrashed Nadeem for two sixes off two successive balls and then carted Anderson for another six.

Their rollicking partnership which lasted for 12 overs was packed with eight sixes and nine boundaries and ended when Raina was run out.

15 runs later, Karthik went back to the dugout after he tried to hit out Pat Cummins but Corey Anderson took a stunning catch at mid-off. His 65 came off 34 balls and were studded with five sixes and an equal number of boundaries.

Delhi made three changes from the previous eleven, which chalked out a convincing 6-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Tuesday. Chris Morris, Angelo Mathews, and Jayant Yadav made way for  Shahbaz Nadeem, Pat Cummins, and  Marlon Samuels.