NEW DELHI: It was feared that without the services of Purple Cap holder Kagiso Rabada, Delhi Capitals’ bowling would suffer against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. But those were allayed by an all-round display from their attack, as the hosts won with five wickets and 23 balls to spare.Delhi climbed to second with 18 points from 14 games. Their net run rate, which had taken a massive dip following their loss to Chennai Super Kings, also rose to +0.044.
The onus is now on Mumbai Indians, who have to comprehensively beat Kolkata Knight Riders if they are to displace the Shreyas Iyer-led side and get two chances to make the final. Rajasthan ended their IPL campaign with 11 points. Post the win, Delhi players even went on lap around the stadium to acknowledge the role of the home crowd who have stuck by the team despite their dismal displays in the past.
“We knew 150 would have been difficult on this track. But we did not bat according to the plan. Credit to Delhi bowlers for their disciplined show. We had our moments but could not capitalise. Some of the guys are playing their third or fourth game, so it’s tough on them,” pointed out Rajasthan skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra shone with the ball as both picked up three wickets apiece. The lanky pacer was in fine fettle at the start as he picked up the crucial wickets of Rahane, Liam Livingstone and Mahipal Lomror inside the first powerplay.The local lad may have lost some yards of pace, but he has added quite a few variations, namely the knuckleball and off-cutter. They proved potent as Rahane was caught at wide fine leg after failing to read a slower ball, while another crept between Livingstone’s bat and pad to displace the stumps. Incidentally, Ishant has the joint second-most wickets in the powerplay this season.
Mishra dismissed Shreyas Gopal and Stuart Binny off consecutive balls. While Gopal holed out off a classical leg-spinner’s delivery, Binny failed to read a googly and edged one to Rishabh Pant. New man K Gowtham should have been his hat-trick victim, but Trent Boult dropped a sitter.The only silver lining for the visitors was a mature knock from 17-year-old Riyan Parag, who became the youngest to hit a fifty in the tournament’s history. The U-19 World Cup winner tried his best to fight back but ran out of partners. He chose the bowlers he wanted to attack and if not for his valiant 50 off 49, Rajasthan wouldn’t have crossed 100.
Chasing 116, the hosts had the chance to overtake Chennai if they overhauled the target within 10 overs. The loss of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw early on off Ish Sodhi put paid to those hopes. As things started to look dicey, in walked Pant and hit his third fifty of this season to guide Delhi to win.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 115/9 in 20 ovs (Parag 50; Mishra 3/17, Ishant 3/38) lost to Delhi 121/5 in 16.1 ovs (Pant 53 n.o; Sodhi 3/26).