Delhi Capital skipper Shreyas Iyer steered his side home with an unbeaten 58 off 49 balls to secure only their second victory in five games at Feroz Shah Kotla this season, beating Kings XI Punjab by five wickets.
Dew was expected to be a factor in the 37th match of the 2019 Indian Premier League and that prompted Iyer to put Kings into bat first having won the toss.
It was a wise decision of course, but didn’t seem like one when Chris Gayle went berserk at the top of the order. The West Indies batsman was striking the ball superbly on his way to 69 from just 37 balls.
It was going to take something special to dismiss Gayle in such ominous form and Colin Ingram produced it with a brilliant bit of fielding in the 13th over.
Sandeep Lamichhane is one of the most economical bowlers in the shortest format of the game, but he was getting swatted around by Gayle. On this occasion though, the delivery after the 39-year-old sent the ball into the stands, he didn’t quite get hold of the wrong one that bounced a bit more.
Ingram took the catch at deep mid-wicket but with his momentum taking him over the ropes, he managed to flick the ball towards Axar Patel arriving from wide long-on to complete a relay catch.
Knocks from Mandeep Singh (30) and Harpreet Brar (20*) helped Punjab post a score of 163/7. While Lamichhane picked up three wickets, he went at 10 an over, making Kagiso Rabada’s figures of 2-22 the most impressive for Delhi.
The home team’s openers began the chase well, but Shikhar Dhawan sold Prithvi Shaw short in the fourth over. Initially calling for a single, the India batsman sent his partner back midway, leaving him stranded as Mandeep managed a direct hit at the non-striker’s end.
A Captain's knock from Shreyas Iyer who is also the Man of the Match for the game tonight. Well played, Skip 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/1hhQbSTCgD— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 20, 2019
Fortunately for Dhawan, he went on to play a fine knock, continuing his recent resurgence after an unbeaten 93 against Kolkata Knight Riders and a 35 against Mumbai Indians. The southpaw looked in good nick as he struck seven boundaries and a six to post 56 from 41 balls, putting up a 92-run stand with Iyer.
When trying to launch Hardus Viljoen in the 14th over though, he was deceived by a slower ball and skied his shot for Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin to claim with a fine catch at mid-wicket.
Rishabh Pant then fell cheaply to Viljoen as well, but Iyer was determined to play a captain’s innings and see his side over the line. The 24-year-old showed maturity as he played smart cricketing shots to secure the victory.
The chase did go down to the final over with six needed but Iyer never lost his composure and achieved the target with a couple of deliveries to spare.
Smith’s second half-century of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) proved to be crucial as Rajasthan recorded only their third win of the campaign while completing the double over Mumbai.
Batting first, Mumbai posted 161-5 with wicketkeeeper Quinton de Kock registering his third fifty of the campaign. However, the hosts survived a few late scares in the chase to coast home with five deliveries and as many wickets to spare.
IN-FORM DE KOCK CASHES IN
Rajasthan were given a roaring start with the ball with Shreyas Gopal dismissing Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma cheaply and the leg-spinner could have had a second in quick succession if Jofra Archer had not put down a straightforward chance at long on.
It was De Kock who was the lucky batsman with just six runs to his tally at that time and the Mumbai man made Archer pay severely by registering his second half-century against Rajasthan.
The South African had struck a fine 81 just a week ago in the reverse fixture and he was in similar mood again on Saturday in a 65-run innings that contained six boundaries and two sixes.
His 97-run stand for the second wicket alongside Suryakumar Yadav set up a solid platform for Mumbai ahead of the final five overs.
ARCHER’S ‘JEKYLL AND HYDE’ DISPLAY
Dropping de Kock early was just the start of Archer’s misery in the field with the pacer putting down two more sitters off Hardik Pandya’s bat in the death overs.
Both the dropped catches of Pandya came off the bowling of Jaydev Unadkat and the fact that the under-fire seamer was hit for a six off the very next delivery rubbed further salt into Rajasthan’s wounds.
It somewhat spoiled the good work done by Gopal and even Archer himself to get Rajasthan back into the game in the latter overs. The Windies-born bowler bowled superbly in the death with his four overs going for just 22 runs with the wicket off Pandya with a searing toe-crusher.
Yet, he will be filled mixed emotions after that display.
CAPTAIN SMITH, YOUNG PARAG LEAD RAJASTHAN
Steve Smith had struggled for timing throughout the 2019 IPL campaign leading up to Saturday’s fixture but the Aussie was a batsman transformed after being handed the captaincy.
The right-hander made sure to give the hosts a brisk start in the powerplay alongside Sanju Samson with 60 runs coming in the first six overs. Samson departed after an explosive cameo and Ben Stokes fell for a duck but Smith then found able support from 17-year-old Riyan Parag who came out with a positive mindset.
The teenager helped take the run-rate pressure off Smith and struck some crucial boundaries with the skipper taking a backseat. Smith brought up his second half-century of the campaign, taking 40 deliveries to get to the mark with his 70-run stand with Parag bringing the hosts close to the finish line.
Parag was ultimately run-out for 43 while Ashton Turner bagged his second consecutive golden duck but Smith was unwavering in his determination to see the hosts through with a fine unbeaten 59.
Mumbai Indians: 161-5
Quinton de Kock: 65 (47)
Shreyas Gopal: 2-21
Rajasthan Royals: 162-5
Steve Smith: 59 not out (48)
Riyan Parag: 43 (29)
Royal Challengers Bangalore are beginning to get their act together and they will face another stiff test in their IPL 2019 playoff hunt when they host Chennai Super Kings on Sunday.
RCB survived a mighty scare in their last game against KKR after Andre Russell and Nitish Rana almost pulled off a monumental run chase in pursuit of 214. In a way, Bangalore needed that break as it was just their second win of a bruising season.
Chennai will be an even more challenging opposition as they do not rely on just one or two players. Bangalore wouldn’t want to recall the previous clash between the sides – the opening match of IPL 2019 – where spinners ran amok on a slow Chennai pitch to derail RCB’s innings for just 70. While a crumbling pitch was to be blamed for Bangalore’s performance, it was a sign of things to come with Virat Kohli’s side stumbling from one disappointment to the other.
All up to Kohli
Bangalore captain Kohli has been feeling the heat for some time. Questions were raised about his tactics after failing to win a single title yet still being retained as the captain. But when the pressure has been at the highest, Kohli has come up with the goods. Scores of 67 against KXIP and 100 against KKR secured the only two wins of the season for Bangalore.
If AB de Villiers doesn’t recover in time, it will be all down to Kohli and a resurgent Moeen Ali to provide the impetus with the bat.
While the Super Kings are on top of their game and the points table, the manner of defeat in their previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad will be of some concern.
On a typically sluggish Hyderabad pitch – which suits Chennai’s play – CSK first struggled to a nothing score of 132-5 and then saw David Warner and Jonny Bairstow hit fifties in a facile chase.
They genuinely missed MS Dhoni in that game after the veteran decided to rest. He should come back into the team and provide some much needed guidance and lower order hitting. If Dhoni continues to remain out for what is thought to be an ongoing back issue, Chennai’s woes might continue.
RCB: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB De Villiers/Henrich Klaasen, Akshdeep Nath, Moeen Ali, Marcus Stoinis, Pawan Negi, Dale Steyn, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini
CSK: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni/Sam Billings (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar