IPL 2018: Ricky Ponting hails Rishabh Pant after Delhi Daredevils sign off with win | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: Ricky Ponting hails Rishabh Pant after Delhi Daredevils sign off with win

Rishabh Pant finished the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 with 684 runs at an outstanding average of 52.61, though the Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi Daredevils (DD) finished last in the points table.

cricket Updated: May 20, 2018 23:33 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
N. Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rishabh Pant was Delhi Daredevils’ best performer with the bat in IPL 2018.
Rishabh Pant was Delhi Daredevils’ best performer with the bat in IPL 2018. (PTI)

Rishabh Pant was a silver lining at the end of another bleak season for Delhi Daredevils, who finished last in the points table despite upstaging former champions Chennai Super Kings and holders Mumbai Indians in their last two matches at the Indian Premier League.

Pant, 20, struck a match-winning half-century in the 11-run defeat of Mumbai Indians that eliminated the three-time champions from a playoffs spot at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Sunday. Ricky Ponting, the Aussie batting legend and DD head coach, wished there had been a collective batting contribution.

“He has had an outstanding season. Wearing the orange cap now, it will be outstanding if he is able to retain that. Kane Williamson obviously is breathing down his throat. It is great recognition for the personal season that Rishabh has had,” he said at the media interaction after the final game.

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Pant struck a century and five half-century, averaging 52.61. Williamson, the Sunrisers skipper, though is set to overtake him as the highest run-getter of IPL 2018, having aggregated 661 runs with the playoffs to come.

“Across the board we needed a more even contribution, our top order batsmen had to, if we were to be a threat to challenge for the title this year. Shreyas Iyer, probably over 400 runs (411), he can hold his head up.”

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Delhi Daredevils’ biggest disappointment was Australian limited-overs specialist, Glenn Maxwell, making just 169 runs and taking five wickets in his 12 games. Ponting pointed to Maxwell finishing as player of T20 tri-series heading into the IPL. Ponting was coach in the tournament.

Maxwell missed the first game for DD as he was best man at Aaron Finch’s wedding and then look unsettled.

“A few weeks before this tournament, I spend some time with him in the tri-series, did a lot of work with him there. To be honest, the thing that hurt him the most was just how well Rishabh played.

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Ponting said having started at the unfamiliar No 5 slot, Maxwell could not find his moorings, which left him frustrated.

“Having spoken to him a few times he said he has been frustrated that he hasn’t been able to have an impact in the result in a lot of these games. He is an outstanding cricketer, there is no doubt about that. He had a disappointing IPL; we stuck with him because every game for Delhi, even though we didn’t qualify, we were taking every game as a final, looking at it as a chance of winning the game. If you look at the overseas batsmen, we felt Maxwell was going to be the best chance of being a match-winning batsman for us. We stuck with him.

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Nepal teenager, Sandeep Lamichhane, took three wickets to derail Mumbai Indians’ chance, taking five in all from three games after having had to wait almost till the end to get a break.

Ponting said with South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris (both were out injured) and Maxwell to pick from, Lamichhane, despite his talent, had to wait. He said India’s U-19 skipper Prithvi Shaw doing well as opener meant Manjot Kalra, who hit a century in the final of the junior tournament, didn’t get a chance.