Delhi Capitals climbed to the top of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) table after seeing off Rajasthan Royals in a closely fought contest at Jaipur on Monday.
Shreyas Iyer’s men chased down a challenging total of 191 runs thanks to an inspirational performance from Rishabh Pant who scored a quick-fire 78 off just 36 balls.
Rajasthan captain Steve Smith was unhappy with how his team batted in the death and felt that his middle-order batsmen could have added some more crucial runs on the board.
The Australian spoke in admiration of Pant, who practically stole the game from under their noses.
“We thought we didn’t finish off well with the bat, they pulled things back with (Kagiso) Rabada in the death overs. We couldn’t quite get hold of their bowlers. The wicket played well throughout, one of the best in the tournament,” said Smith.
“They took our bowlers on in the powerplay and Shikhar (Dhawan) played a magnificent knock. Pant is a young lad and he did a terrific job as well.
“It’s always hard for the bowlers with the dew around. The wicket stayed the same throughout the 40 overs. You can try and get wickets with your best bowlers or keep them for the death overs. Delhi did that well with Rabada but for us (Jofra) Archer has bowled well for us throughout the tournament.”
Delhi’s young captain Iyer was delighted with the positive team atmosphere following a run of five wins in their last six matches and was full of praise for Pant staying unbeaten until the very end to finish the job.
“We are happy with our team is going. The positivity is spreading in the camp. We knew Royals are going to go all-out. Wicket was a belter and the way they started we thought they will score 200. (Ajinkya) Rahane batted brilliantly. Our bowlers contained well to restrict Royals,” Iyer explained.
“Ricky (Ponting) tells us that batsman who get starts should bat for a long time. Rishabh took that initiative and batted till the end. In the previous match, I was there till the end and Shikhar (Dhawan) did it too in one match,” he added.
Man-of-the-match Pant was delighted to have helped his team climb to the top of the table with what was only his second fifty of the 2019 IPL campaign.
“I am feeling lovely. To make your team win in an important match is a good feeling. I won’t lie, the (India World Cup squad) selection thought was running in my mind,” a visibly delighted Pant remarked.
“I focused on my process, I trusted my prowess and it worked for me. I knew how wicket was behaving and I took advantage of that. The most important things for our team is that everyone needs their role and we try to keep it simple.”
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.
Rishabh Pant will be very proud of this innings. Difference between promise and what a proper pro does. Look forward to seeing many more of these.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 22, 2019
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)
Just a week after Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Chennai Super Kings by six wickets, the two teams meet again in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday, this time at the home ground of the defending champions.
That win helped Sunrisers arrest their alarming slide of three defeats on the trot to reaffirm their play-off credentials. It also was the first victory for Hyderabad over Chennai in five meetings.
WARNER, BAIRSTOW KEY TO SRH’S RESURGENCE
Since beating Chennai at Hyderabad, Sunrisers have gone on to add another win to their tally following a nine-wicket demolition of Kolkata Knight Riders. Both wins were based on the solid foundation provided by openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow who have been the most formidable opening partnership in the 2019 IPL campaign by some distance.
The two batsmen have already added a staggering 786 runs between them in nine outings so far this year with their partnership being the cornerstone of several Hyderabad wins. Warner has been nothing short of sensational on his IPL return with the Aussie left-hander registering one ton and six half-centuries in his nine innings while Bairstow hasn’t been too far behind with a century and two fifties to his name already.
Hyderabad already have one of the best bowling units in the IPL at their disposal but they become even a more difficult side to beat when their openers get going.
CSK LOSING THEIR MOJO
While Hyderabad have added one more win to their kitty since beating Chennai, MS Dhoni’s men have faced another setback in the form of a one-run loss to bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore.
CSK looked down and out in the clash before Dhoni’s unbeaten 48-ball 84 nearly took them across the finish line before eventually suffering a heartbreak off the final delivery of the match.
That loss, coupled with the one against Hyderabad, has taken some sheen of Chennai’s impressive run in the first-half of the campaign where they had emerged as the runaway leaders. Dhoni’s men still remain top of the pile despite the back-to-back defeats but the likes of Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals are now hot on their heels.
Momentum before the play-off battle eventually arrives will be crucial for all teams and CSK will want to get their campaign back on track as soon as possible. The loss against Bangalore completed a long stretch on the road for Dhoni and his men and they will enjoy playing at home.
Chennai are still sweating over the fitness of veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh who has now missed the side’s four most recent outings due to a stiff neck.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed