Karun Nair and Rishabh Pant's 74-run stand for the third wicket was decisive in Delhi's narrow seven-run win over Pune in the Indian Twenty20 competition at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi on Friday.
Delhi won the toss and opted to bat first, even though only once in four seasons has that led to a victory at the venue. The ploy, at first, seemed faulty as the hosts lost Sanju Samson via a run-out in the first over and Shreyas Iyer caught behind in the third. The score was 11 for 2. It was then that Nair and Pant dropped anchor and began rebuilding. Nair led the way by first clubbing Washington Sundar for two fours in the third over and then clipping Ben Stokes for three more an over later.
Pant not to be outdone smashed a six off the fifth ball he faced. Nair though was clearly the more aggressive of the two upfront and hammered Shardul Thakur for three boundaries in the sixth over. In all, Nair hit nine boundaries in 18 balls. Pant's departure in the ninth over for a 22-ball 36 put the brakes on Delhi, as Pune regained control. Nair fell in the 18th over for 64 off 45 balls. He was particularly strong through midwicket, collecting 23 of his 64 runs in this region. The Nair-Pant combine had scored at 11.10 runs an over and helped Delhi post a respectable 168. Pune managed just 161 in reply.