Delhi capitals scored an emphatic win to keep their chances of finishing in the top two alive. They got a boost from the performances of the Indian veterans - Ishant & Mishra and the flamboyant Pant. This also marked their 3rd straight win their home ground.
DC would have been the happier side after being asked to bowl first on an uncertain Kotla pitch. Ishant Sharma used his guile & experience to take a wicket each in each of his first three overs and put RR on the mats who were reeling at 30/4 even before the powerplay had ended. Amit Mishra then ran through the Royals’ middle order by picking another three wickets and leave RR stuttering at 66/7 in the 14th over. Trent Boult too picked up a couple of wickets to restrict RR to a sub-par score of 115.
DC began their chase with a flurry of boundaries and had raced to 28/0 by the 3rd over. However, they lost both Dhawan & Shaw of successive deliveries in the 4th over when Pant joined the skipper Iyer to steady the ship for DC. Iyer departed in the 8th over when the score was at 61 and was followed by Ingram & Rutherford later on. However, Pant curbed his instincts on the other end and hung on to ensure that DC get those two points and climb to the second spot for the time being.
Amit Mishra has adjudged the MoM for his figures of 4-0-17-3 and was well supported by Ishant who had figures of 3-0-20-3 after the powerplay. Rishabh Pant finished another chase for DC & top-scored with 53*(38).
Rajasthan Royals though had been practically out of the race for the playoffs for quite some time now, theoretically, they were thrown out of the race on a day when their meek performance more or less summed up their season’s performance. A day when they bowed out of the tournament without putting up any fight.
Captaining the side again after Smith’s departure, Rahane fell early in the second over to a leading edge. He was soon followed to the pavilion by Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror & Samson, who once again fell to a runout. RR were reeling at 30/4 at the end of the powerplay. It was then that Riyan Parag took the center stage and demonstrated a maturity that was well beyond his age. He went about his job while wickets kept tumbling at the other end and saw RR going from 30/4 to 65/7 and finally ending at 115/9. Especially impressive was how he took Ishant & Boult to cleaners in the death overs to give some sort of respectability to RR’s score.
RR’s defense of their modest total began in a disarray with Aaron & Oshane Thomas leaking runs. Ish Sodhi struck on consecutive deliveries in the 4th over accounting for both Dhawan & Shaw to give some ray of hope to RR. He got good support from Shreyas Gopal who was the only other wicket-taker for RR. Though the RR bowlers did not really let the DC run away with the match but the runs put up by the batsmen were never going to be enough to make a match out of it.
Riyan Parag top-scored for RR with 50(49) which included two sixes of Boult’s 20th over. Ish Sodhi, playing only his second match of the season was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3.1-1-26-3. Shreyas Gopal continued his good form and ended the game with figures of 4-0-21-2 & the season with 20 wickets.
The Delhi Capitals will be hoping that the Mumbai Indians lose their last match against KKR so that DC could end up in the top two. Rabada’s injury has given them a massive blow as he had been shouldering the responsibility of spearheading the attack. Prithvi Shaw’s continued failure has been a cause of concern for DC & would really help DC’s cause if he comes good. Pant has started showing the maturity that everyone expects of him and thus strengthens the case for DC in the playoffs.
It is the end of the road for the Rajasthan Royals. What really hurt their cause was not just the indifferent form of Rahane but also the absence of Buttler, Stokes, Archer & Smith in the later matches. These had been the first choice foreign players for RR & their absence did give a major blow to their chances. Riyan Parag & Shreyas Gopal have been the shining lights for them and RR will hope that they would do better in the next season.
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