Rishabh Pant was on top of his game on Sunday night as he took the Chennai Super Kings bowlers to the cleaners with his sensational strokes. During the Delhi Capitals’ IPL 2024 match vs CSK in Visakhapatnam, Pant scored 51 off only 32 ball with the help of 4 fours and 3 sixes. That also happened to be Pant’s first fifty in competitive cricket ever since his return from a horrific car crash he met with in December 2022. Pant made his comeback to competitive cricket with IPL 2024 but he failed to spread his magic with the bat in the first two games. However, the third game saw a change in fortunes for Pant.

Comeback man Pant announced his arrival with a superb fifty after opening duo of David Warner and Prithvi Shaw provided the foundation as Delhi Capitals posted a competitive 191 for 5 against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL game on Sunday.

Opting to bat, Warner and Shaw shared a 93-run opening stand but the highlight of the day was Pant’s sensational knock, which gave them the impetus in the end.

Pant, who came into the tournament after recovering from a life-threatening road mishap in December 2022, scored his first fifty in 15 months.

The in-form Warner slammed five boundaries and three maximums during his 35-ball 52, his 110th T20 fifty, which equalled Chris Gayle’s record of most fifty-plus scores in T20s.

Playing his first game this season, Shaw, who hasn’t been able to live up to his immense talent, once again reminded everyone of his boundary-hitting skills, smashing two sixes and four boundaries in his 27-ball 43.

However, pacer Matheesha Pathirana produced a sensational catch to dismiss Warner and then returned to strike twice in three balls to bring CSK back into the game.

But Pant, who has looked good in his two earlier innings, bide his time initially and then exploded to take them close to a 200-total.

Mitchell Marsh too blasted two fours and a six in his 12-ball 18 cameo.

Earlier, while Tushar Deshpande used his variations to good use to gave just eight in his first two overs, Deepak Chahar, who bowled his 3 overs in the powerplay, was milked by the DC openers.

It was mainly Warner who picked Chahar for the special treatment, depositing him twice into the stands on the leg side, punishing him for bowling into his pads.

He was particularly harsh on Chahar in the 5th over, as after a second six, he hit two fours on the off side to accumulate 18 off the over as DC made 42 in 5 overs.

Bowling the last over before powerplay, Mustafizur Rahman too was taken to the cleaners with Shaw hitting three successive fours as DC posted their highest powerplay score of 62-0 of this IPL.

Ravindra Jadeja was next welcomed with a six by Shaw before Warner pulled one across deep backward square leg for a boundary as 13 runs came off the over.

Pathirana bowled a good first over, hitting 145-plus consistently with his sling action.

However, Warner smacked Jadeja next over long-on before completing his fifty off 32 balls.

It took the brilliance of Pathirana to send him back as the Sri Lankan plucked the ball from thin air to complete a sensational catch, leaving Warner stunned as Mustafizur earned first blood.

Shaw smashed another six to take DC past the 100-run mark but Jadeja dismissed him next ball, inducing an edge as MS Dhoni did the rest for his 300th dismissal — the highest by a keeper in T20s.

With the two openers gone, the scoring rate dropped as skipper Pant struggled.

Pathirana then put up a show, uprooting the middle-stump of Marsh and then disturbing the timbers of Tristan Stubbs in a space of three balls to leave DC at 134 for 4 in 15 overs.

Pant then stepped up, plundering a four and a six off Mustafizur and then launched into Pathirana, clobbering him for a six and two fours in the 19th over before holing out in the deep.

(With PTI Inputs)

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