Pant, debutant Sharma propel Delhi to 181/4
New Delhi, May 12 (PTI) Rishabh Pant continued his destructive form with a 34-ball 61 before Abhishek Sharma impressed on his IPL debut to push Delhi Daredevils to 181 for four against Royal Challengers Bangalore here tonight.
Sharma, who hammered an unbeaten 46 off 19 balls, was one of three IPL debutants for Delhi today along side Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and South African pacer Junior Dala.
Considering how easily Sunrisers Hyderabad chased down 188 in the previous game, Virat Kohli opted to put the opposition in.
The RCB skipper started with spin and it got him instant breakthrough with Yuzvendra Chahal castling the talented Prithvi Shaw with a wrong one.
A little later Chahal sent back Jason Roy in a similar fashion as the Englishman failed to read the wrong one off the Indian spinner's hands, leaving Delhi at two for 16 in the third over.
The dangerous duo of Pant and skipper Shreyas Iyer (32 off 35) then got together to resurrect the innings. They shared a 93-run stand with Pant doing bulk of the damage.
Pant, who smashed an epic 63-ball 128 here on Thursday night, pulverised the visitors' attack yet again. The southpaw got going by depositing Mohammed Siraj for successive sixes in the eighth over, one came off a pull over midwicket and the other was a flatter hit over long-off.
Pant raced to his fourth fifty of the season off 27 balls and was poised for another big innings. It only took a special effort to remove Pant with AB de Villiers holding on to a spectacular sliding catch at long-on.
The other set batsman, Iyer, too departed soon after Pant's fall, hurting the innings momentum to leave Delhi at 120 four in 15.1 overs.
That was when Sharma stepped in and took the opposition by surprise.
The left-hander looked good from ball one when he smashed Siraj to the long-off boundary.
Luck was also on his side as Sharma was dropped by Siraj at third man and to add insult to the injury, the ball deflected from his hands to the ropes. Tim Southee was the unfortunate bowler who eventually leaked 22 runs in the 17th over with Sharma smashing him for two sixes in a row.
The 17-year-old belied his age with such clean and powerful hitting in an innings that comprised four sixes and three boundaries.
The last 29 balls fetched 61 runs for Delhi with Sharma and Vijay Shankar (21 off 20) sharing an unbeaten 61-run stand off 30 balls