A well-measured stand of 176 by Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson sealed the Sunrisers’ playoff place with a nine-wicket win over the Delhi Daredevils.
The Sunrisers showed their pedigree by brushing aside the Daredevils’ offering of 187, which was based almost exclusively on Rishabh Pant’s phenomenal 128 off 68 balls. The win also conclusively ended the Daredevils’ campaign as they remained rooted at the bottom of the table.
After the early loss of Alex Hales (14), Dhawan and Williamson were untroubled. Dhawan took the senior role, scoring 92 off 50 balls – with nine fours and four sixes – while Williamson ended with 83 off 53, including eight fours and two sixes.
The Sunrisers’ easy stroll to victory, with seven balls to spare, eclipsed one of the greatest IPL innings.
Pant smashed 128 off 63 balls, and that included 59 runs off 18 balls in the last four overs – the highest any batsman has made in the last-four in the IPL – and 26 of those came off the last five balls of the innings. In all, he sent seven balls soaring into the stands, among the 15 boundaries he picked up.
It was an opportune moment for his first IPL century, for the other six Delhi batsmen who came to the crease contributed just 56 runs off 57 balls.
The Daredevils elected to bat and were two down for 21, thanks to two stunning deliveries from left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, who removed the openers in successive balls. Captain Shreyas Iyer contributed just three to the stand of 22 for the third wicket as the mud-feeding team were reeling at 43-3 after eight overs.
Pant and Harshal Patel did their best to build a base, putting on 55 in six overs before Patel was run out for 24. Pant had to take some blame for that, so he had some amends to make, and make them he did.
Glenn Maxwell faced just eight balls for his nine in a stand of 63, while Vijay Shankar just watched as Pant went on the rampage in the last over.
It seemed, for a while, that might be enough.