New Delhi, India: Skipper Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan powered Sunrisers Hyderabad to an emphatic nine-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils on Thursday and become the first Indian Premier League side to secure a play-off spot this season.
Williamson, who made 83, and Dhawan, 92 not out, put on an unbeaten 176-run record stand as table-toppers Sunrisers cruised past their target of 188 with seven balls to spare in the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.
The batting duo's effort was the highest partnership in IPL this year. Their knocks eclipsed Daredevils wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant's unbeaten 128 off 63 balls.
"We wanted to go out and play as a team, we've been scraping away on tough surfaces. It was nice to execute our plans well tonight with the bat," Williamson said of his side, which is hailed as a top bowling unit.
"There were some tough periods, we needed to soak that up but Shikhar was outstanding, he showed intent from ball one, it was a terrific knock," Williamson said in praise of his partner.
The left-right batting pair of Dhawan and Williamson smashed 17 fours and 6 sixes to push Delhi, who lie bottom of the eight-team table, out the final-four race.
While it was just the second half-century of season 11 for Dhawan, New Zealand's Williamson continued his rich vein of form with his sixth fifty.
The 27-year-old Williamson has led Sunrisers from the front after taking over from the scandal-tainted David Warner as captain.
The Kiwi skipper has accumulated 493 runs in 11 innings to be key in Sunrisers' nine wins in 11 games.
Warner had led Sunrisers to their maiden IPL title in 2016 and now under Williamson's leadership the Hyderabad franchise once again look to be title favourites.
This year's seven-week tournament has $8 million in prize money, including $4m for the team crowned champions at the May 27 final in Mumbai.