NEW DELHI: The Delhi Capitals bowling unit once again turned a par score into an unbeatable one as they thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Being put to bat first, Delhi put up 154/6 but the Royals finished with a poor 121/6 in their quota of 20 overs. The result meant Delhi went top of the table and now have 16 points from 10 games while Rajasthan are sixth with eight points from nine. The win means last year’s runners-up side have virtually sealed their spot in the playoffs as no team has failed to reach the last four when on 16 points.
The track was on the slower side which made it difficult to bat on. It was evident from the moment the Delhi openers came out to bat. They were unable to time a single delivery and could not last long out in the middle. Orange Cap holder Shikhar Dhawan (8) was the first to get dismissed as he played on a good length ball onto his stumps. Shaw did not last long either as he departed off the bowling of Chetan Sakariya.
Precariously placed at 21/2, Shreyas Iyer (43 off 32 balls) and captain Rishabh Pant (24 off 24 balls) notched a 62-run partnership to steady the ship. Iyer’s return has meant a much more solid middle-order for the Capitals and his controlled aggression gave his team much needed boost when it looked like Delhi would not post a challenging total. Some adventurous batting from Shimron Hetmyer (28 off 16 balls) meant the batters gave their bowling counterparts a total to defend. But Delhi’s bowling unit were impeccable from the word go.
The pace troika of Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Avesh Khan were right on the money while the spin duo of R Ashwin and Axar Patel were full of guile as they utilised the pitch to perfection. Nortje (2/18) was the pick of the Delhi bowlers while Avesh (1/29), Rabada (1/26), Axar (1/27) and Ashwin (1/20) snapped a wicket each. The pacers used the short ball to great effect as out of the four wickets, three were from balls bowled back off a length. Needing wickets to put the opposition under pressure considering the target, the pacers gave an electric start, picking up two, Liam Livingstone (1) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (5), in the first two overs.
Ashwin removed the dangerous David Miller (7) before Rabada ensured the pair of Sanju Samson and Mahipal Lomror could not resuscitate the innings as he dismissed Lomror for 19. Rajasthan skipper Sanju Samson looked in sublime touch, scoring an unbeaten 70, but with wickets tumbling at regular intervals from the other end, the Royals innings failed to get the momentum it needed. Brief scores: DC 154/6 in 20 ovs (Iyer 43, Hetmyer 28; Mustafizur 2/22) bt RR 121/6 in 20 ovs (Samson 70 n.o; Nortje 2/18).
Three of the top-four will be in action in what promises to be a Super Sunday in the desert. A look
at the two IPL clashes in store...
UNBEATEN SIDES LOOK TO KEEP MOJO GOING
Venkatesh Iyer. Ruturaj Gaikwad. That’s the small list of openers who have provided necessary ballast in the UAE leg. Granted it’s a small sample size but both Kolkata and Chennai have benefited immensely from their work. On Sunday, they will search for more such avenues to make it three wins on the bounce. As far as Chennai is concerned, they know that one more will probably put them through to the knockout stages.
BATTING AFTER THE POWERPLAY
Bangalore’s batting has been a passable impression of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with the latter being ever present after the first six overs. They will look at arresting that worrying trend. The numbers don’t make for good reading — 41/2 to 92 all out against Kolkata and 55 for no loss to 156/6 against Chennai. They need to try and get that batting combination right otherwise it could be another unfulfilled campaign.
WILL THE REAL MUMBAI PLEASE STAND UP
Mumbai Indians are notoriously slow starters. This is a well established fact. However, the defending champions should start picking up a few points before the season goes pear shaped for them. With a poor NRR, they can ill-afford any more big losses. They also need to figure out a way to get their lead bowlers back on the A game — Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar have together conceded 190 in 21 overs at 9.04 runs.
CSK vs KKR: 3.30 pm | Abu Dhabi
RCB vs MI: 7.30 pm | Dubai 6/49
Bravo’s cumulative figures in the two matches of the UAE leg
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