Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson shared an unbeaten 176-run stand to overshadow a breathtaking hundred from Rishabh Pant as Sunrisers Hyderabad sailed into the Indian Premier League play-offs with a commanding nine-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla.
Delhi decided to put scoreboard pressure on the opposition by deciding to bat but things did not go according to plan in the powerplay. Shakib Al Hasan struck off consecutive balls in the fourth over to remove in-form opener Prithvi Shaw (9) and Englishman Jason Roy (11), leaving Delhi at 21 for two. Shaw mistimed a pull off a short ball and Dhawan latched on to it at cover.
Shakib sent back Roy the very next ball with a beauty that turned away just enough to take the edge to the wicket-keeper.
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).
Sunrisers, who lead the table with 18 points from 11 games, showed on Thursdaythat they could not just defend small totals but also chase down stiff targets.
Dhawan, due for a big score, rose to the occasion with 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.
The experienced duo was a delight to watch as it completed the chase with utmost calm. With just six points from 11 games, Delhi are now certain to make another early exit from the tournament.