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How Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson have lifted Delhi Daredevils’ flagging spirits

Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson’s superb batting display for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2017 clash against Gujarat Lions will come as a morale-booster for the team in what has been an underwhelming campaign

ipl 2017 Updated: May 05, 2017 18:58 IST
Ahaan Gupta/Sidak Anand
Ahaan Gupta/Sidak Anand
New Delhi
ipl 2017,rishabh pant,sanju samson
Rishabh Pant (L) and Sanju Samson scored 97 and 61, respectively, to help Delhi Daredevils beat Gujarat Lions by seven wickets in their IPL 2017 clash at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday.(AP)

“Rishabh, Rishabh”. As the crowd went wild with every six Rishabh Pant struck, we sat in the stadium awestruck. Pant and Sanju Samson were toying with bowlers of the caliber of James Faulkner and Ravindra Jadeja. This was a special sight; one that will remain in the memory for long. (DD v GL HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)

Seeing the Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina clobber the Delhi Daredevils’ attack and setting a massive 209-run target left our group of 12 distraught. With DD’s sub-par performance in their previous matches, we didn’t give the hosts much of a chance. The absence of the reliable Chris Morris further heightened our apprehensions. And, with a fair bunch of youngsters in the side, we felt they would be overwhelmed by the occasion.

In hindsight, we underestimated them.

READ | Why Delhi Daredevils’ IPL 2017 hero Rishabh Pant was fearless in huge chase

Delhi boy Pant striking 97 off 43 and Samson hammering 61 off 31 deliveries is no easy task and the consummate ease with which they did it gave a fair idea of the clarity and fearlessness of today’s youth. Pant and Samson are 19 and 22, respectively, and symbolise today’s generation, which likes to play the game hard.

That brings us to the subject of investing in youth. Ten years ago, Royal Challengers Bangalore bought U-19 captain Virat Kohli. Today, he’s one of the best batsmen in the world, scoring runs in bucket loads. The key is persistence and backing your players. Delhi might have a lesson here. They need to groom their youth who play fearless cricket, and not chop and change their squads, which they have done with monotonous regularity over the years.

READ | Rishabh Pant’s IPL knock floors Tendulkar, Big B; is MS Dhoni under pressure?

We sat in the stands thinking about DD’s future --- about next year. The ‘big auction’ takes place next year, with one not sure whether the franchises can retain players or not. Well, for a moment, let us consider that they can retain four. It’s imperative that Delhi don’t let go of Pant, Samson and Shreyas Iyer. Alongside the three, Delhi would do well to retain Chris Morris -- their most consistent player --- and Quinton de Kock --- though not playing but a a deadly striker of the ball. These experienced players can help the inexperienced lot keep their feet on the ground.

As a fan, I expect Delhi to buy wisely. We need a solid captain candidate, who has the experience. Gautam Gambhir had stated his desire to play for Delhi again and that may be just what Delhi are looking for, as he has the striking ability and a wise head on his shoulders.

READ | Guru Rahul Dravid shares success mantra with shishyas Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson

It is also essential that Delhi invest in the spin department, given that Amit Mishra can do with support from someone like Krunal Pandya or Kuldeep Yadav.

As we watched in sheer amazement, I realised that Delhi have a tough road to the playoffs. Even if they win all their matches, they might still miss out. DD have made it so hard for themselves! But, then, we thought about the glorious moments of the match and how we were treated to some amazing cricket on Thursday night. Even if Delhi don’t make the playoffs, it was money well spent on a team with tremendous potential.

(The writers are school students and avid followers of Delhi Daredevils)

First Published: May 05, 2017 18:58 IST