Opener Rishabh Pant smashed a blazing half-century as Delhi Daredevils crushed Gujarat Lions by eight wickets in their Indian Premier League clash at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Tuesday.
The victory propelled Delhi to the second spot in the points table with five wins and two defeats in their seven matches. Gujarat, however, still sit pretty at the top with six victories and three losses in their nine games.
Giving glimpses of his exploits in the U-19 World Cup, Pant smashed two sixes and nine fours in his 69-run knock that came off just 40 balls. Pant cracked Dhawal Kulkarni for a hat-trick of fours to set the tone of the run chase.
By the time Pant was dismissed, while trying to slog sweep a Ravindra Jadeja delivery that edged onto the pad for Karthik to take a simple catch, Delhi were safely placed at 115/1 in 13.3 overs.
Delhi hit another roadblock in the next over when Shivil Kaushik had Quinton de Kock caught by Dwayne Smith at deep mid-wicket, but Sanju Samson and Jean-Paul Duminy saw to it that Delhi crossed the finishing line as Samson sealed the match with a six off Jadeja.
Earlier, a fine collective bowling effort enabled Delhi Daredevils to restrict Gujarat Lions to 149/7.
Shahbaz Nadeem took two wickets while rest of the Delhi bowlers, barring Duminy, took one wicket each as Gujarat managed to score 149 runs riding mainly on a brisk half-century by Dinesh Karthik.
Opting to bowl after winning the toss, captain Zaheer Khan gave Delhi Daredevils a dream start when he clean bowled the dangerous Brendon McCullum (1) in the third over. Nadeem increased Gujarat misery when he dismissed big hitters Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch in one over.
Nadeem first had Smith caught by Chris Morris at long-on and then foxed Finch into playing a slog sweep to a flighted delivery that was top edged to Rishabh Pant at short fine leg.
Captain Suresh Raina and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik put up a 51-run stand off 42 balls to steady Gujarat and just when the duo was starting to look dangerous, Amit Mishra had Raina (24) stumped by Quinton de Kock to reduce Gujarat to 75/4 in 11 overs.