T20 2018: Rishabh Pant scores century but not enough to save Delhi
Rishabh's 128 for Delhi in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad achieve 188-run target with 7 balls to spare
Hyderabad's Shikhar Dhawan (left) and skipper Kane Williamson during their unbeaten 176-run stand against Delhi at Feroz Shah Kotla yesterday
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.
After early setbacks, Pant's superb knock enabled the Delhi recover to 187 for five, which seemed quite a challenge for their rivals, who have relied more on their bowling than batting to bail them out. But skipper Kane Williamson and back-to-form Shikhar Dhawan put up a superb batting display to help Hyderabad clinch a comprehensive nine-wicket win with seven balls to spare and consolidate their position at the top.
Delhi's Rishabh Pant. Pics/AFP
The defeat ended the Delhi' aspiration of a berth in the Playoffs, though they still have three home matches to play. It has indeed been a disappointing season for them despite possessing young talent like Pant, skipper Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw. Now, they are in line to end at the bottom of the heap.
Opting to bat first, Delhi lost Shaw and Jason Roy off successive deliveries by Shakib Al Hasan. And when Shreyas was run out in a mix-up with Pant, Delhi were down to 43-3 in the eighth over. To Pant's credit, he retrieved the situation with his maiden T20 2018 century, that included 15 fours and seven sixes, including three off the final three deliveries of the innings, bowled by pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
A target of 188 seemed a fighting one. But Williamson (83 not out) and Dhawan (92 not out) were in irrepressible form and taking advantage of the dew factor, they tore into the Delhi bowling.
Despite losing Alex Hales early, Hyderabad cruised along as Williamson and Dhawan put on a mammoth unbeaten partnership of 176 off just 102 balls, as the Delhi bowling seemed toothless on a benign Kotla pitch.
Now, the Delhi can only brood on what went wrong for them once again, while Hyderabad will be looking to take their challenge right to the end. Nothing less than the title should satisfy Hyderabad now.
Fab 5: Top five batsmen who hit the most sixes in T20 2018 so far