Shreyas Iyer made a strong statement on his return to IPL 2021 on Wednesday night when the Delhi Capitals batsman fired a not out 41-ball 47 to ensure the team's safe passage to an eight-wicket win against lowly Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai.
The match 33 of the tournament saw fiery bowling spells from Delhi's South African pace duo Kagiso Rabada (3/32) and Anrich Nortje (2/12) halt SRH innings at 134/9 in the first innings. In reply, Shreyas Iyer, who missed the first phase of the league with injury, brought his team home with 13 balls to spare after Shikhar Dhawan steered the run chase with a 37-ball 42. Rishabh Pant, who has stepped in as captain for the season for injured Iyer, also fired a quick 21-ball 35* in the win.
This was Pant's seventh win of the season with Delhi grabbing the top spot in the table yet again ahead of Chennai Super Kings. Hence, justifying Delhi's decision to continue with Pant as the captain despite Iyer's return. His performance as captain also drew praises from the previous captain.
"When I got the captaincy of Delhi Capitals, it benefitted me a lot as my temperament got better. But obviously, this is part of the decision making and I respect the franchise's decision. Rishabh Pant is leading really well since the start of the season and I respect the decision to continue with him. I like soaking in the pressure and I like to perform when there are challenges. It is not like I am focusing a lot on my batting just because I am not the captain," said Iyer at the post-match press conference.
Speaking of his performance, the 26-year-old right-handed batsman further added that it was good to be back with a bang but his hunger for runs hasn't been satisfied yet.
"It is a really good feeling, I would not say that I am satisfied because the hunger has gone up and the appetite keeps on increasing every match you play. So I am not satisfied and content," said Iyer.
Iyer recalled that how the injury, which kept him out of action for months, was difficult to accept and adapt but he had his family and friends who kept him sane during the period.
"When I got injured, it was difficult for me to adapt to this particular fact because I keep on doing so many activities here and there, it was difficult for me to adapt, but close-knit family and friends really kept me busy and they kept me in a positive frame of mind," he said. "When the rehab started, and I started gaining strength, that was an amazing feeling and that put me in a really good frame of mind."