IPL 2019: Pant trumps ton-up Rahane as Delhi Capitals beat Rajasthan Royals to go top

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Pant plays match-winning knock. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Delhi Capitals rode on a fine display from left-handers Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan to inflict a crushing six-wicket defeat on Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Monday.

It was the fifth win in six games for Delhi in their 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign and it helped them leapfrog Chennai Super Kings to the top of the table.

Rajasthan had earlier posted a commanding 191-6 after a superb ton from Ajinkya Rahane along with a second consecutive fifty for skipper Steve Smith. However, Delhi stayed on top throughout the chase via half-centuries from Dhawan and Pant with the latter finishing off the match with a sumptuous six in the final over.

RAHANE’S RESPONSE TO CAPTAINCY AXE

Having lost the captaincy to Steve Smith, Rahane was a man transformed on Monday as he put his poor personal form behind him.

Rahane started slowly and his poor communication cost fellow opener Sanju Samson his wicket in the very first over. However, that disastrous run-out only spurred Rahane to finally release the shackles and take the attack to Delhi’s bowlers.

Every shot was coming off the middle of the bat for the right-hander who made the most of Ishant Sharma dropping a sitter when he was batting on 16 to bring up his second fifty of the campaign.

Having brought up his fifty off 32 deliveries, Rahane took another 26 balls to bring up his first IPL ton in seven years with his quick-fire 130 run stand with Smith paving the way for a daunting Rajasthan total.

Three sixes and 11 fours made it a boundary-laden innings from the India Test deputy who carried his bat.

TURNER’S HORROR IPL CONTINUES

While Rajasthan were going at over 10 runs an over when Rahane and Smith were going great guns, the dismissal of the latter saw them lose their tempo. A big reason for the Royals’ late stumble was the cheap dismissals of Ben Stokes and Ashton Turner whose poor IPL campaigns continued.

While Stokes was sent back for just eight, Australia batsman Turner bagged his third golden duck in a row with his maiden IPL campaign turning into a nightmare. Having impressed with his whirlwind knock of 84 against India at Mohali last month, plenty was expected from the big-hitting right-hander in the IPL but that has failed to happen.

On Monday, Turner chipped Ishant’s slower delivery straight into the hands of Sherfane Rutherford to make it a hat-trick of golden ducks in his first three IPL outings. He then went on to drop a straightforward catch of Prithvi Shaw in the field later, summing up his disastrous campaign so far.

PANT ON FIRE

Chasing a challenging 192, Delhi were given a flying start by veteran opener Dhawan who struck his second fifty in a row in blazing style. The left-hander took a liking to the pitch as he brought up his half-century off just 25 deliveries.

His swashbuckling innings while Prithvi Shaw was struggling at the other end ensured Delhi stayed ahead of the asking rate for the most part. Once Dhawan (54 off 27 balls) and skipper Shreyas Iyer departed in quick succession around the halfway mark, it was Pant who took control of the chase.

The young wicketkeeper-batsman had been guilty of failing to finish some straightforward chases earlier in the season but in Jaipur, he showed no signs of nerves in a terrific 78 from 36 balls. The southpaw struck four sixes during his knock.

BRIEF SCORES

Rajasthan Royals: 191-6

Ajinkya Rahane: 105 not out (63)

Steve Smith: 50 (32)

Delhi Capitals: 193-4

Rishabh Pant: 78 not out (36)

Shikhar Dhawan: 54 (27)

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