A change in name for Delhi finally seems to be doing wonders. With eight wins from twelve games, they are well set to end the league stage within the top two. The batsmen have been firing while the bowling unit led by Rabada have been consistently doing the job.
Opting to bat first on a dry wicket, DC got off to a fine start. Though they lost Prithvi Shaw in the fourth over, Sreyas & Shikhar continued clobbering the bowlers and had reached to 59/1 at the end of the powerplay. The duo scored their respective half-centuries and put together 68 before Shikhar departed in the 13th over with the scoreboard at 103/2. DC lost Pant, Iyer & Ingram in consecutive overs after that to end up in a state of bother. However, Rutherford & Axar bailed DC out and took them to an above par total of 187 with a partnership of 46*(19).
The DC bowlers couldn’t get their acts right in the beginning with four different bowlers bowling the first four overs. The RCB had raced to 45/0 after the 4th over and 64/1 at the end of the powerplay. It was then that the DC fielder’s started plucking the balls out of thin air. Axar Patel was instrumental in seeing the backs of both Virat & AB; he got the wicket of Virat while took a stunner at the deep mid-wicket to send AB back. Amit Mishra then accounted for both Klaasen & Shivam Dube in the 13th over to end any hope for RCB. Marcus Stoinis did give some scare towards the end but Ishant & Rabada bowled excellent death overs to restrict RCB to 171 and claim a victory.
Sreyas top-scored for DC with 52(37) while Dhawan scored 50(37) to reach the third place in the race for the orange cup. Rabada once again picked up two wickets to take his tournament tally to 25 and now is 8 wickets ahead of the second-placed Tahir in the race for the Purple Cap.
RCB have similar recurring woes - death bowling concerns and an inability to win matches when either of AB or Virat fails to score big. This was again repeated in Kotla on a hot Sunday evening, where RCB lost a match in Delhi for the first time since 2010.
Being asked to bowl first after losing the 9th toss of the season, Virat started with Umesh, Washington Sunder & Chahal in that order and were taken for 30 runs in the first 3 overs. Umesh accounted for Shaw in the 4th over but after that, the RCB bowlers had to wait till the 13th over to get any success. It seemed that the RCB bowlers had finally found the mojo when they took three quick wickets and it seemed that they will restrict DC to under 170. But the misery of death bowling came to haunt them back and they ended up leaking 46 runs off the last three overs to concede 187 runs.
Parthiv once again provided the early flourish and it seemed that he was picking boundaries at will. RCB had raced to 63/0 of 5.4 overs before Parthiv blinked. From there on it was all downhill for RCB as Virat fell in the 8th over followed by AB in the 12th. It seemed that RCB batsmen just did not have enough firepower to see them through after that. Stoinis & Gurkeerat did play a few strokes to elicit some hope when they had reached 152/5 at the end of the 17th over. With 36 required of 18, a few good hits could have taken them through but it was never to be. Rabada & Co. kept the batsmen silent and this led to RCB managing a score of 171.
Chahal though was taken for some runs but he was also the pick of the bowlers with the two wickets against his name. Parthiv top-scored for RCB with 39(20) but no one else made any real contribution. This also ended RCB’s three-match winning streak and any distant hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
The DC will now travel to Chennai to face CSK on the 1st of May which will more or less decide who will top the table. It should also be a dress rehearsal for the 1st qualifier. DC will play their last league match of the season against RR in Delhi on the 4th.
RCB will host RR & SRH on the 30th April and the 4th of May respectively. Pride is all they can salvage, and that is what they should play for. They could also play a spoilsport for both RR & SRH who are still in the race for the playoffs.
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