Led by a sensational unbeaten ton by Sanju Samson, 2008 champions Rajasthan racked up a daunting total of 198-2 with India stalwart Bhuvneshwar Kumar taken for 55 runs from his four overs.
Amidst the carnage laid by Rajasthan’s batsmen in Hyderabad, Rashid Khan still managed to stamp his authority with the leg-spinner finishing with excellent figures of 1-24.
Here, we take a closer look at the Sunrisers spinner’s excellent display.
RUNS CONCEDED: 24
Coming to bowl inside the powerplay in a change of tact from skipper Kane Williamson, Rashid wasted no time in answering the call of the Sunrisers’ skipper. The Afghan star struck with just his second delivery by castling the leg stump of Rajasthan’s danger man Jos Buttler.
The Sunrisers leg-spinner remained economical at his end even as Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane upped the ante against the other bowlers, conceding only three boundaries in his entire spell.
As always, Rashid was bang on the money from ball one. The 20-year-old is usually stump-to-stump and that was the case on Friday with Jos Buttler finding it out the hard way.
The Afghanistan bowler has had the better of Buttler in the past too and he continued to impose his supremacy on one of the most destructive batsmen in the IPL at the moment with the help of his lethal accuracy.
His ability to get the ball to go either way while pitching in line with the stumps gave batsmen no breathing room when they looked to attack him.
While he was excellent with the ball in hand, he was also a livewire on the field with the all-rounder saving some vital runs on the boundary ropes.
Is there a better T20 bowler than @rashidkhan_19, spin or pace?— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 29, 2019
While he didn’t really do anything wrong with the ball, Rashid could have had two scalps to his name had he shown a little bit more awareness. The leggie struck the pads of Ajinkya Rahane before the ball made its way to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow’s gloves and immediately launched into an appeal for lbw.
The appeal was turned down and Rashid ultimately decided against taking the review. Replays showed that Rahane had got an inside edge onto the pads before the ball was caught by Bairstow and as such, a huge opportunity went abegging for both Rashid and Hyderabad at a crucial stage.
VERDICT – 8.5/10
While the rest of Sunrisers’ bowlers including the characteristically economical Bhuvneshwar Kumar were taken to the cleaners by Samson and Rahane, Rashid was immune to the onslaught with his clever variations.
The ability to thrive when others struggled shows Rashid’s immense class with the ball in T20s and Hyderabad will count themselves lucky to have his services for three seasons running.
The Indian Premier League is ultimately a platform for young Indian players to showcase their talents and grab the attention of the Indian management, fast tracking their entry into the national team.
While it is true you will never find a Test talent like Cheteshwar Pujara in IPL, or even a reliable ODI player for that matter, there are a few traits that can be ascertained the T20 league – whether a batsman can hit the long ball consistently, is a bowler calm during the death overs, how quick can a pacer bowl and so on.
T20 tournaments have a good record of unearthing quality quicks, with Jasprit Bumrah being the best example. This season, it’s Royal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Navdeep Saini who has caused a stir by cranking up the speed gun.
In two matches so far, the Delhi based quick has nudged the 150kph mark. In the opening game against Chennai Super Kings, skipper Virat Kohli singled out Saini for being a potential match-winner.
“Saini is promising, He is touching 150kph. He is going to be a lethal weapon,” Kohli said.
In his second match against Mumbai Indians, Saini was at it again. In his first over, Saini cranked up the speed gun to 145, 147 and then 150 kph.
The Delhi quick has been a consistent performer in first-class cricket and given that the national captain is also from his state and IPL franchise, it should open the doors for national selection sometime in 2019.
It will be a chance for Delhi Capitals to get back to winning ways in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) when they play host to Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday but the task for the home team will not be an easy one given the form their opponents have shown so far.
The renamed Delhi Capitals started off their campaign with an impressive 37-run victory over three-time champions Mumbai Indians but the early confidence gained from that win was shaken up a bit when Chennai Super Kings prevailed over them in a tense encounter.
Having finished with the wooden spoon last season, Delhi made some clever additions to their roster by roping in the experienced Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma. Both the veterans played their part in helping shepherd an already strong young Indian core towards a win over Mumbai and much more will be expected of them going forward in the campaign.
Ishant’s arrival has bolstered a more than formidable bowling unit being led by South Africa pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada and which includes the highly experienced veteran spinner Amit Mishra. Such have been Delhi’s problems of plenty in the bowling department that Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane has failed to get a single game so far while Kiwi stalwart Trent Boult had to miss out in the loss to Chennai.
DEATH OVER CONCERNS FOR DELHI
However, the primary worry for Delhi comes in the batting department where Prithvi Shaw and skipper Shreyas Iyer have failed to come to the party so far. While Dhawan has been a steadying figure in both matches and Rishabh Pant has played two explosive innings, Delhi still ran out of steam in the death overs against Chennai, throwing away a promising start.
From 120-2 at the 15th over mark, Delhi’s innings ultimately culminated at 147-6 with the defending champions turning the screws in the death-overs. That proved to be critical with Chennai clinching victory off the final over of the match with the shoddy batting at the death costing Delhi dear.
KKR RIDING ON RUSSELL’S INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE
One team who are not experiencing any death-overs’ woes are Kolkata with Dinesh Karthik’s men collecting more than 50 runs with the bat in the final three overs in each of their two wins so far.
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has been primarily responsible for the destruction Knight Riders have caused in the death overs with scores of 49 (19) and 48 (17). Russell’s impact has not been limited to just the bat with the 30-year-old also chipping in with four crucial wickets with the ball.
Russell has been the deciding factor for Kolkata in their two wins and keeping him quiet will be the major hurdle to cross for Delhi on Saturday.
Along with Russel’s brute power, Kolkata also have an excellent spin attack at their disposal which includes Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla. It is the form of Narine with the ball which will be a worry for Karthik with the West Indies man struggling with his economy-rates since coming back from an injury.
Narine did find form with the bat in the win over Kings XI Punjab but the displays of fellow opener Chris Lynn have been less than satisfactory. Old horses Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana have been looking good for the two-time champions but currently Russell’s brilliance is masking several non-performing assets for the Knight Riders.
Karthik’s men cannot rely on Russell to bail them out on every occasion and other senior stars of the franchise will have to step up if their perfect record so far is to continue.
Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik (c and wk), Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna.