Rishabh Pant-Sanju Samson stand lights up IPL 2017 - A list of top partnerships.

05-05-2017
HT

T20 cricket has more often than not turned out to be a batsman’s paradise where one can free his arms right from the first ball. The shortest format of the game also calls for restricted line and lengths, less margin for error and a window of opportunity to turn into unlikely heroes for the bowlers.

Thus, while the likes of David Warner, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have had their share in the limelight in this edition of the IPL, more often than not, a few quick wickets from Imran Tahir or Bhuvneshwar Kumar have put the batsmen under pressure with runs drying up soon after a dismissal.

In such scenarios, partnerships become extremely crucial and HT looks at the top five performances so far this season:

1. Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant – 143 vs GL: The former is yet to play for India while the latter has just played one T20I. But experience didn’t matter as the two youngsters hit the Gujarat Lions bowlers at will and helped Delhi Daredevils chase down a massive 209-run target with 15 balls to spare.

Pant led from the front with an explosive 43-ball 97 while Samson scored 61 of 31 deliveries. The 143-run stand was the best Delhi Daredevils had achieved this season and helped them keep their chances of qualifying for the play-offs alive.

2. Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir – 184 vs GL: Bowling to a left-right combination always gets difficult and the duo ensured it in style as they plundered the Gujarat Lions bowling attack to stitch a 184-run partnership in their first match of the season to chase down the target set by Gujarat Lions with 31 balls to spare.

Chris Lynn scored 93 off just 41 deliveries while Gautam Gambhir was at his explosive best, scoring 76 off 48 deliveries.

3. Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya – 93 vs RCB: Mumbai Indians were reeling under pressure at 7/4 against Royal Challengers Bangalore when Pollard walked into bat with Nitish Rana at the other end. Rana, who has had a terrific season, was expected to produce another gem of a knock, but fell to Samuel Badree with Mumbai Indians still 110 runs away from victory.

Pollard then stitched one of the most memorable knocks of the IPL this season with a timely 70 (off 47 balls) with Krunal Pandya (37 off 30 balls) at the other end. Pollard failed to finish it off for his side though, but the 93-run partnership had by then sealed the fate of the match.

4. David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan – 139 vs KKR: One of the most successful opening pairs in the IPL this season, the two southpaws put up a grand show at the Eden Gardens as they thrashed the famed Kolkata Knight Riders bowling attack to all corners of the park to post 209 after batting first.

Warner had been the star of the night, scoring 126 off just 59 balls, but Dhawan’s 29 was had an immense amount of impact as well. Instead of joining in the carnage, the Indian opener chose to play the anchoring role, holding back his shots while letting Warner continue the brutal power-hitting. The duo put up 139 for the first wicket in just 12.4 overs.

5. David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan – 107 vs KXIP: While Warner is the highest run-getter in the IPL this season, the fact that he has got an able partner in Dhawan has helped Sunrisers Hyderabad’s cause to a great extent.

While they have always managed to produce the perfect platform for the likes of Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh to come lower down the order and take on bowlers at will, one of them has clicked in almost all the matches. Against Kings XI Punjab, the two put up their first century stand in the tournament with Warner scoring a 27-ball 51 and Dhawan 77 off 48.

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