Delhi Capitals’ Rishabh Pant slammed a 36-ball 78 to beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur on Monday. While striking six fours and four sixes during his 36-ball furious gallop, Pant showed why his World Cup exclusion became a subject of intense debate.

Shikhar Dhawan got Delhi Capitals off to a rollicking start with a barrage of fours and sixes, adding 72 runs for the opening wicket with Prithvi Shaw in only 7.3 overs.

But it was Pant, who played the most influential role in DC’s win, finishing it off with a six.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan’s miseries continued in IPL 2019. They continue to languish at the seventh place on the points table with six points from 10 matches.

After a quiet first over, Dhawan cut loose and hammered Dhawal Kulkarni for a six over deep square and leg and a four. Having removed Kulkarni from the attack, Dhawan went down on his knee and whacked Shreyas Gopal over fine-leg for another maximum, and then hit two successive fours.

Kulkarni was brought back and the senior India opener responded with two more boundaries.

Shaw had luck on his side as Ashton Turner dropped him on 10, and the young batsman capitalised on that by hitting a few boundaries.

After pulling Gopal for a four, Dhawan was stumped while going down the wicket, and DC skipper Shreyas Iyer fell to a horrendous shot.

It was a mature knock by Pant, who reached his half century in 26 balls.

Earlier, blending panache with power, Ajinkya Rahane roared back to form with a scintillating century and propelled Rajasthan Royals to 191 for six.

Asked to bat after Iyer called correctly at the toss, Rahane spearheaded Rajasthan Royals’ innings after getting a life on 16, the culprit being Ishant Sharma, who dropped a sitter at sort fine-leg. The drop hurt the visitors, but Delhi did well to prevent RR from going past 200.

To start with, Rahane drove Ishant through a crowded off-side field for a boundary, a shot that had his characteristic elegance written all over it.

Seeing the flight early, Rahane danced down the crowd to hoist’s Axar ball over him and into the sightscreen.

Unfazed by the sight of pacer Kagiso Rabada steaming in, he smoked the South African’s short of a length delivery down the ground for another maximum. Rahane soon brought up his second IPL hundred, the first coming seven years ago.

He raised his bat to acknowledge the applause from the crowd and his dugout that was as relieved as the batsman himself.

And even as Smith and Ben Stokes gout out in quick succession, Rahane was going strong, swiftly hitting Morris for a boundary over mid-off. At the other end, Ashton Turner fell for a third golden duck.

(With inputs from PTI)

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