Delhi Capitals became the second team to qualify for the IPL 2019 playoffs after a clinical 16-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at home on Sunday.
Batting first on a markedly better Feroz Shah Kota pitch, Delhi posted an above average 187-5 thanks a late charge in the death overs that produced 56 runs from four after Shikhar Dhawan and captain Shreyas Iyer posted fifties. The Royal Challengers made a fine start but the slowing Delhi pitch and sharp Capitals attack restricted their reply to 171-7 with Kagiso Rabada (2-31) bowling brilliantly at the death.
Virat Kohli’s RCB are almost out of the tournament following their eighth defeat but are technically still in with a chance if they win their remaining two games and other results go their way.
Dhawan motors along
After an indifferent few months in white-ball cricket, Dhawan is coming into his own. The southpaw entered the clash against RCB on the back of successive fifties and a 35. Dhawan was in top form on Sunday as well, making the most of decent batting conditions and an attack missing Dale Steyn.
Dhawan (50 off 37 balls) and captain Iyer (52 from 37) played extremely sensibly on a Delhi pitch that can’t be trusted. They laid the foundation for a late push without eating up too many deliveries themselves. The duo took the score to 103-2 in the 13th over.
RCB spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2-41) and Washington Sundar (1-29) took the scalps of Dhawan, Iyer and the dangerous Rishabh Pant in succession to put the brakes on Delhi’s scoring.
After 17 overs, Delhi were 141-5 and looked set to finish around the 165-170 run mark. But Sherfane Rutherford (28 off 13) and Axar Patel (16 off 9 balls) let loose in the final few overs to turbo charge the Delhi innings.
Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini were smashed for four fours and two sixes in the last two overs as Delhi posted a healthy 187-5.
Bangalore hit the ground running
RCB openers Parthiv Patel and captain Kohli sped off the blocks, racing to 56-0 after five overs. A few more overs of such batting and Royal Challengers would have been in complete control.
But Delhi knew one breakthrough would break the momentum as the wicket was very difficult to start on. Pace spearhead Rabada was once again the go-to man, getting Parthiv caught at point in the sixth over. One over later, left-arm spinner Axar got the big scalp of Kohli – caught at deep midwicket in the eighth over.
Rabada rises to the challenge
RCB needed 36 from the last three overs which is definitely gettable in T20 cricket. But Rabada bowled a stupendous 18th over, giving away just six runs as he mixed up yorkers, slower ones and short balls perfectly.
Ishant Sharma recovered from a poor 17th over to give away just four in the penultimate before Rabada finished the job to send Delhi through and all but end RCB’s playoff hopes. Delhi made it past the league phase for the first time since 2012.
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