IPL 2019: Ajinkya Rahane back as captain as Rajasthan Royals pursue playoffs v Delhi Capitals

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Rahane is back as Rajasthan skipper. Image: BCCI/Sportzpics.

Time to bring out the calculators folks. The IPL 2019 playoff qualification race is in full swing and with four teams fighting to the last remaining spot, fortunes are dependent on team’s own results and failures of others.

Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians have made it to the next stage, leaving four teams in the race. On Saturday, Rajasthan Royals travel to Delhi, looking to keep up their end of the bargain and hope other results go their way.

A win alone won’t be enough for Rajasthan as they will also need Sunrisers Hyderabad to lose later in the day against RCB and for the winner of KXIP-KKR match to lose the last match.

Rahane back in charge

Helping Rajasthan in this arduous task is Ajinkya Rahane, who is back in the captain’s seat for the last league game after a remarkable turn of events.

The top order batsman was removed as skipper after their eighth game following six defeats. Steve Smith was appointed as captain but he is back with the Australian team to prepare for the World Cup.

Other senior players like Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are also not with the team anymore, leaving Rahane as the only person left for the job, which makes for an awkward situation.

Nonetheless, Rajasthan need to somehow win against the already qualified Delhi. The washout in their last game against RCB has hurt Rajasthan’s chances.

Kagiso Rabada of Delhi Capitals. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Kagiso Rabada of Delhi Capitals. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

No Rabada

What should make the job slightly easier for Rajasthan is the absence of star Delhi pacer Kagiso Rabada, who has been ruled out of the tournament following back trouble.

With the pace ace unavailable, Rajasthan can hope for slightly easier time but there will be a lot on the line for Delhi as well, who will aim for a big win to improve their net run rate and better their chances of making it to the first qualifier.

Delhi will also be desperate to put the disastrous effort in their last game – where they were shot out for 99 by Chennai’s spinners – behind them.

Likely XIs

Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Colin Ingram, Axar Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Chris Morris, Jagadeesha Suchith, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (wk), Liam Livingstone, Ajinkya Rahane (wk), Rahul Tripathi, Riyan Parag, Stuart Binny, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas

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IPL 2019 LIVE: Virtual playoff shootout in KXIP v KKR

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Ravi Ashwin. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

It’s a virtual shootout in the playoff race when Kings XI Punjab host Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday.

Both teams looked like securing their spot a long time back but lost their way in the middle of the season and now there is only one spot left with CSK, Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians through.

The loser of tonight’s match will be out of contention for all purposes.

Who will prevail in the crucial clash? Catch the updates below.

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IPL 2019: Jasprit Bumrah's fine super over against SRH seals Mumbai Indians' play-off berth

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Bumrah conceded only eight runs in the super over. Image - IPL/Twitter.

It took them two bites at the cherry, but in the end Mumbai Indians prevailed over Sunrisers Hyderabad via a super over to become the third team to qualify for the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs.

Mumbai posted 162-5 in their regulation 20 overs after skipper Rohit Sharma elected to bat first bat and looked on course for a win, with SRH requiring 17 runs to prevail off the final over in their chase.

However, Manish Pandey belted a six off the final delivery bowled by Hardik Pandya to force the match into the tournament’s second super over where Mumbai held their nerve finally to seal the win.

Jasprit Bumrah turned out to be Mumbai’s hero in the super over with the pacer picking up two wickets in just four deliveries to restrict SRH to a mere eight runs. In response, Mumbai batsmen Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard knocked off the required nine runs off just three balls to land a big blow on Hyderabad’s play-off ambitions.

DE KOCK CARRIES HIS BAT IN SCRATCHY FIFTY

On a day when Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma failed once again with the bat, his fellow opener Quinton de Kock registered his fourth half-century of the campaign while carrying his bat through.

However, it wasn’t the most fluent of knocks from the South African who struggled for timing throughout his innings. The southpaw missed out on full tosses while his well struck shots found the fielders in a scratchy display \, which mirrored Mumbai’s batting struggles as a whole on the day.

De Kock took a painstaking 48 deliveries to bring up his 10th IPL fifty \, but it was still a crucial knock which held the Mumbai innings together.

A crucial fifty from de Kock. Image - IPL/Twitter.

A crucial fifty from de Kock. Image – IPL/Twitter.

KHALEEL REAPS THE REWARDS FOR EXCELLENT SUNRISERS BOWLING DISPLAY

A major reason for Mumbai’s struggles to score big on a decent pitch was the disciplined bowling efforts of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who together conceded just 74 runs between their total quota of 12 overs.

But while it was the India seamer and Afghan spinners who curtailed Mumbai’s rate of scoring, it was pacer Khaleel Ahmed who reaped the rewards when it came to wickets despite having an expensive outing.

The left-armed fast bowled conceded 42 runs from four overs but picked up the three crucial wickets of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav. It took the youngster’s tournament tally to 12 wickets in just seven games and he is now only behind Rashid (14) in the wicket-taking charts when it comes to the Sunrisers’ bowling unit.

Three wickets for Khaleel. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Three wickets for Khaleel. Image – IPL/Twitter.

PANDEY TURNS HERO FOR SRH IN WARNER’S ABSENCE

It was SRH’s first test with the bat since David Warner’s tournament exit and it was one they just about cleared with Manish Pandey continuing his second coming. Despite being given a flying start by openers Wriddhiman Saha and Martin Guptill which saw them collect 60 runs in just five overs, SRH’s run chase completely derailed once Jasprit Bumrah picked off Saha and Guptill with successive deliveries.

Post the openers’ fall, only Manish Pandey was able to hold his own while the pressure built up at the other end for the visitors. Mumbai’s spinners Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar bowled economically in the middle overs to set up a grand finish where Pandey took centrestage.

The right-hander registered his third fifty in four games and stepped up just when his team needed it the most. With seven runs required to win off the final delivery and SRH’s hopes all but vanished, Pandey pulled off a monstrous six to force the match into a super-over and hand his team a lifeline.

Valiant effort from Pandey. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Valiant effort from Pandey. Image – IPL/Twitter.

BRIEF SCORES

Mumbai Indians: 162-5

Quinton de Kock: 69 not out (58)

Khaleel Ahmed: 3-42

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 162-6

Manish Pandey: 71 not out (47)

Jasprit Bumrah: 2-31

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