Rishabh Pant (97 off 43 balls) and Sanju Samson (61 off 31 balls) scripted a memorable victory for Delhi Daredevils on Thursday as the two helped their side pull off the second highest run-chase in IPL history with a maiden century-run partnership this season. (DD v GL HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)
Their aggressive approach helped them plunder the Gujarat Lions’ bowling attack at will as they showed no mercy to even India’s go-to man Ravindra Jadeja. They picked up 68 runs in four overs between overs 10-13 as they raced to 165/1 from 97/1 in no time. At the end of the match, team mentor Rahul Dravid lauded the approach of the two cricketers. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)
In an interaction for the official IPL website, Dravid was in conversation with the duo and stated: “I’m glad they haven’t been watching too many videos of me batting when we need 208 in 20 overs.” For the ones well-versed with Dravid’s playing style, they would well agree with Dravid as Pant and Samson put up 143 runs for the second wicket in just 10.3 overs.
On being asked what exactly was their game plan as they approached the target, Pant said: “Nothing. I just told Sanju bhai ‘If you see the ball, just hit it.’ The ball is there to be hit, just hit it and don’t think about the next ball. If the next ball is also there to be hit, then again hit one. There was no plan in that way. We were just waiting for bad balls.”
While Pant had been hitting sixes at will, nine in fact, he was ably supported by Samson at the other end who was equally explosive but allowed the southpaw have more of the strike.
“I was in good nick and I was watching the ball well. The atmosphere really helped me I think. This game is all about mindset and it was very set, very clear and very positive,” Samson said before adding that although he wanted to slow down, Pant didn’t let him do so.
“I started the innings really well. After hitting two sixes I wanted to take a single but Rishabh came up to me and said ‘bhaiya zyada socho mat, marte raho’ (Brother don’t think about it too much, just keep hitting). I guess that helped me as well.”
Pant had been the highest run-getter for Delhi in the Ranji season besides finishing fourth on the overall list. However, what was more striking was that he was the only batsman with a strike rate of 107.28 in those 12 innings with the closest being Ishan Kishan at 83.92.
“It always helps when you have a good domestic season and then to carry that form into the IPL but as you said, we’ve won two matches in a row now but we’ll take one match at a time,” Pant told Dravid.
The former Indian captain was vividly pleased with the duo’s performance but reminded them of the hard taskmaster he was who would have loved to see him stay unbeaten.
“It was really impressive for me as well with Rishabh batting on 97, not thinking about his hundred at that stage and still going for the shots and playing his shots and not worrying about the hundred and looking to get the team home. So, incredible innings from the two boys… Truly well-deserved and as I’m a hard taskmaster I hope you’ll finish the job next time and stay not out,” Dravid concluded.