On Saturday, October 3, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant provided enough evidence to suggest they will be the future stars of Indian cricket -- at least in the limited overs form -- as Delhi Capitals beat Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
Their 72 run association for the third wicket was the difference between th two sides. It took the game away from KKR. With a view to chasing down any total at Sharjah, the Dinesh Karthik-led KKR asked Iyer's Delhi Capitals to bat first.
Making merry of the small dimensions of the ground, the DC unit piled up a mammoth 228 for 4, riding on half-centuries from opener Prithvi Shaw (66) and Iyer (88* off 38 balls).
Wicket-keeper batsman Pant contributed with a fine 17-ball 38 at a strike-rate of 223.53, with six boundaries in his kitty.
After DC lost Shikhar Dhawan and Shaw, Iyer and Pant joined forces. The duo strung an invaluable 72 run partnership off 31 balls and put DC in the driver's seat.
Iyer and Pant mixed caution with aggression. They accelerated the innings, converting the singles into twos and getting the big shots every over.
Iyer reached his fifty off 26 balls before he further added 37 from just 12 deliveries.
In the 16th, 17th and 18th overs the DC batsmen took 18 runs off Shivam Mani, 17 off Pat Cummins and then 15 off Andre Russell.
Pant departed at the end of Russell's over, after which Iyer exploded. He hammered mystery spinner Varun C for 20 runs in the 19th over, starting with a boundary. He stood tall to hit it over extra cover for a flat six and ended the over with another huge six.
From 129/2 in 12.4 overs, Delhi posted 228.
KKR had a poor start as they lost Sunil Narine (3) early. Eoin Morgan and Rahul Tripathi's blistering late effort went in vain as Delhi Capitals won by 18 runs.
In the end, those 19 runs off the penalty over was the difference between the two teams.