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Rishabh Pant © SuperSport

Pant, Sanju set up record chase for DD

A stupendous century stand by two of India’s most exciting young guns, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, enabled the Delhi Daredevils to crush the Gujarat Lions by seven wickets in a record run chase with 15 balls to spare in a dramatic IPL clash in Delhi on Thursday night.

Full Scorecard: Delhi v Gujarat

The two men, faced with the tough task of scoring a record 209 for victory, collaborated in thrilling style, adding 143 in just 10.3 overs for the second wicket. The partnership included 14 sixes as the two men indulged in a remarkable display of power hitting as they kept alive their team’s hopes of squeaking into the playoffs while effectively snuffing out their opponent’s distant hopes of achieving the same goal.

The Lions, having put up a seemingly challenging total thanks to dynamic half-centuries from Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik, would have been confident of breaking their duck in terms of defending their totals in matches this year.

They never came close, thanks to Pant and Samson, who devastated their bowlers. The left-handed Pant slammed six fours and nine sixes in his sizzling 43-ball innings of 97, while opener Samson didn’t even bother with fours, lofting seven sixes in his 61 in 31 balls.

So dominant were the home team’s batsmen, in fact, that a total of 20 sixes were blasted in the Delhi run-glut, just one short of the IPL record. Delhi’s chase was the highest at the ground and the second highest ever in the competition. For their part, Gujarat were hardly timid, slamming 11 sixes in their innings for a total match figure of 31 “maximums”.

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Earlier, it was Raina and Karthik who roared the loudest as the Lions reached a challenging 208/7 in their innings.

The home team had only themselves to blame for the size of the visitors’ total with an uneven fielding performance.

Raina, who struck an otherwise superb 77 off 43 balls (5x4, 4x6), was dropped three times, on 0, 1 and 42. The main victim was Kagiso Rabada who bowled a magnificent opening over in which he had Brendon McCullum caught behind off his opening 146kph delivery but then had Raina dropped at cover by Marlon Samuels and again – a dolly this time – by slip Shreyas Iyer when Raina gloved his final delivery.

Samuels, making his debut for Delhi, was again the culprit when he dropped Raina again, this time at midwicket. The left-hander made the most of his luck and he and Dinesh Karthik raised the team’s first century stand in this year’s competition.

Delhi’s interspersed their blunders in the field with three brilliant pieces of fielding. The first was down to Rabada who threw down the wicket to finally get rid of Raina; the second was a brilliant, leaping one-handed catch by Corey Anderson at mid-off to dismiss Karthik for an exceptional 65 (34 balls, 5x4, 5x6) while the third was an acrobatic catch by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant off a swirling skier to get rid of the dangerous Aaron Finch for 27 in the penultimate over.

Rabada was particularly impressive with the ball, bowling with real pace and hostility to capture 2/28 in his four overs, while pace partner Pat Cummins also bowled well, taking 2/30, but the other Delhi bowlers suffered badly.

DELHI DAREDEVILS: SV Samson, KK Nair (capt), MN Samuels, RR Pant (wk), SS Iyer, CJ Anderson, PJ Cummins, K Rabada, S Nadeem, A Mishra, Mohammed Shami

GUJARAT LIONS: Ishan Kishan, BB McCullum, SK Raina (capt), AJ Finch, DR Smith, KD Karthik (wk), RA Jadeja, JP Faulkner, PJ Sangwan, Basil Thampi, Ankit Soni


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