IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad become first team to qualify for playoffs, all hopes end for Delhi Daredevils

Rishabh Pant’s blazing knock of 128 runs off 63 deliveries did blast Delhi Daredevils to a comfortable total of 187 runs at the loss of five wickets at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Thursday, but an equally powerful knock from Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson, double-special for Sunrisers Hyderabad, confirmed the visitors’ spot in the playoffs in IPL 2018. On the other hand, the defeat ended all hopes for Delhi Daredevils in the eleventh edition.

The first confirmation has come after 42 matches in IPL 2018. Back in 2016, the confirmation had come after the final league-stage match – game number 54 it was.

Sunrisers have now completed a hat-trick of appearances in IPL playoffs. 2016 being their first, where they were crowned champions. In 2017, SRH were eliminated by Kolkata Knight Riders in a rain-truncated eliminator in Bengaluru. And now, with a formidable bowling line-up and a reviving batting list, Hyderabad look daunting enough to take home the title for the second time.

Delhi started off weak in the campaign managing just one win among a flurry of defeats. With a change in skipper, Delhi rejuvenated under Shreyas Iyer with the help of Pant and young Prithvi Shaw. The trio scored 65 per cent of the total runs in the last four matches to record two more wins and keep their hopes alive for playoffs.

However, SRH dismissed Shaw early in the innings on Thursday after opting to bat first, and then Iyer departed off a horrible run-out mix-up. Pant, with his exhibition of batting, notched up an unbeaten score of 128 runs off 63 balls, the highest by an Indian in IPL to bring back some hope for Delhi after the initial stutter.

In reply, Dhawan and Williamson stitched a match-winning 172 runs partnership for the second wicket to take Sunrisers through past the tricky total.

“There’s always hope to carry into the next season. It’s going to be really important as youngsters that we get along in the coming games. It will give us a boost for the next year. The experience will help in India A games and other matches,” said Iyer after the match.

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