SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) sealed their playoff spot in style after a comfortable 9-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils (DD) on Thursday in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 clash. Shikhar Dhawan produced a batting masterclass along with skipper Kane Williamson for SRH. Dhawan missed his century by 8 runs as he remained unbeaten on 92 off 50 balls. Speaking after the game, man-of-the-match Dhawan jokingly said Delhi should have scored more runs. "Delhi should have scored a few more runs. Jokes aside, whenever century has to come, it will come", Dhawan was quoted to as saying in a video shared by the official Twitter account of IPL.
Delhi's 187 for five was a challenging target but Dhawan and captain Williamson (83 not out off 53) ensured SunRisers overhaul the total in 18.5 overs. The experienced duo was a delight to watch as it completed the chase with utmost calm.
SunRisers' brilliant performance came after Pant's maiden IPL hundred, a wonderful 128 not out off 63 balls which was not enough to arrest his team's slide. With just six points from 11 games, Delhi are now certain to make another early exit from the tournament.
Dhawan also showered praise on Pant's heroics with the bat for Delhi. "His reverse sweeps, he played really well. It is good to see youngsters like him play so well in this tournament", said Dhawan.
He also conceded that he wasn't amongst the runs after his injury.
"Post injury I could not score runs. My belief was always strong. I have played a lot here (Kotla), it is a flat wicket and the ground is small. I backed my attacking game. I had told myself I had to back myself", he added.
SunRisers, who lead the table with 18 points from 11 games, showed against Delhi that they could not just defend small totals but also chase down stiff targets. Dhawan, due for a big score, rose to the occasion with a sublime innings that was laced with nine boundaries and four sixes. Williamson was not far behind as he breezed to his sixth fifty-plus score of the competition. Earlier, Pant helped the Daredevils overcome a poor start to reach an imposing total.
Pant was unstoppable in his unbeaten knock as he toyed with arguably the best bowling attack in the competition, single-handedly giving a fighting chance to a struggling Delhi. His special knock comprising 15 fours and seven sixes also more than made up for his involvement in run-outs of captain Shreyas Iyer (3 off 7) and a set Hasrshal Patel (24 off 17).
Delhi host fellow strugglers Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Saturday at the Feroz Shah Kotla while SunRisers play RCB on May 17 at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
(With PTI Inputs)