In a rain-interrupted contest at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in Delhi – decided off the final ball of the match, the hosts Delhi Daredevils held their nerve to defeat the Rajasthan Royals by 4 runs. The Delhi Daredevils’ innings was impacted at the start and at the back end; showers delayed the start of their innings by 90 minutes, and after 17.1 overs of onslaught by their batsmen, their innings – originally scheduled to be an 18-over affair – had to be prematurely terminated. When they were forced to go off the field, the Daredevils were 196-6. The Rajasthan Royals were given a target of 151 in 12 overs – the target worked out using the DLS Method; the visitors came out all guns blazing – Jos Buttler in particular at his destructive best. But once Buttler was dismissed, the visitors clawed their way back into the match and kept the visitors to five runs short.
In the evening, the Delhi Daredevils lost opener Colin Munro to the fourth ball of the match, but young Prithvi and captain Shreyas Iyer wrested back the initiative pretty much immediately through a stroke-filled 73-run partnership. After Prithvi was dismissed, Shreyas and Rishabh Pant added 92 runs in a period of 7.1 overs. DD scored 48 runs in their 5-over powerplay, added 97 in the middle eight overs and added a further 51 runs in the final 4.1 overs before the skies opened up.
The Rajasthan Royals sent out Buttler and the recalled D’Arcy Short to open the innings. The former was in his elements and dominated the opening partnership. The 50 of innings was brought up in 3.1 overs, Buttler brought up his half-century at the start of the fifth over. The opening partnership had swelled to 82 when Amit Mishra had Buttler stumped. Short, who had struggled for timing until then, hit a few from the middle of the bat, but when he was dismissed for 44 in the tenth over.
The Royals needed 30 off the final two overs. K Gowtham hit Liam Plunkett for a four and a six off the last two balls of the 11th over, which brought the equation down to 15 needed off the final over. After 5 runs were added to the scoreboard off the first four balls, it came down to the Royals needing two big hits; an error in judgement by Shreyas Iyer gave Gowtham a boundary, but the batsman could only collect a single off the final delivery when he needed to deposit one out of the ground. RR finished at 146-5.
Standout batting performance
The Rajasthan Royals needed an innings like the one Jos Buttler played on Wednesday night to give them any chance of pursuing the steep target. The Englishman, who had done very little of note so far in the competition, put the Delhi Daredevils bowlers to the sword. He smashed balls all over the park; length balls disappeared, short deliveries disappeared, he played the orthodox strokes and he created strokes. Buttler raced to 50 off 18 balls – the fastest half-century by a Rajasthan Royals batsman, and carried on to make 67 before his dismissal in the seventh over.
Earlier in the evening, two young lads entertained the crowd assembled at the Kotla. While Prithvi Shaw wowed with his wide range of shots, Rishabh Pant set alight the venue with some muscular hits. If Prithvi’s innings of 47 (from 25 balls) was about offering the full face of the bat bat, hitting on the rise and timing the ball, Pant’s innings – 69 from 29 balls – was all about brute power. Prithvi hit four boundaries and as many sixes, while Pant hit seven boundaries and 5 sixes; the left-hander brought up his half-century off 23 balls – his fastest half-century in the IPL – and carried on.
Pant generally muscled his big hits down the ground; three sixes were over long-on, one over wide long-off, and one came off the top-edge and sailed over the wicket-keeper’s head.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Shreyas Iyer played yet another responsible innings. The DD captain made an attractive 50; he hit 3 fours and as many sixes in his 35-ball outing. Shreyas played second fiddle in two important partnerships. In the 73-run partnership with Prithvi, he contributed 26 runs. Later on, in the 92-run stand with Pant, he contributed 24 runs.
For Rajasthan Royals, D’Arcy Short’s was the support act; the left-hander collected an early boundary off Boult, but struggled to find his timing for a long while thereafter. It was only after Buttler was dismissed that he opened up. Short, 14 from 17 balls at one stage, would finish with 44 from 25 balls; he was dismissed by Maxwell in the same over in which he hit him for a hat-trick of sixes.
Standout bowling performance
For DD, Amit Mishra – who only bowled two overs on the night – was chiefly responsible in applying the brakes on RR’s scoring. When Buttler was on a rampage, the experienced leg-spinner didn’t give him the pace he was feeding off, and eventually had the opener stumped – outfoxed with a googly.
Trent Boult was the one other important contributor for DD; the Kiwi pacer conceded 8 runs in the second over of the run-chase, had Sanju Samson caught in his second over – the ninth of the innings, and bowled a fantastic last over – which contained change of pace, yorkers and balls deliberately angled away wide of the batsman’s striking range. With his 2-26 in this match, Boult would climb to the top of the Purple Cap standings.
Almost all the Royals bowlers were taken to the cleaners. Jaydev Unakdat conceded 46 runs in four overs, but walked away being his team’s most successful bowler with three wickets; he dismissed Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar – all three batsmen caught in the outfield.
Stat of the Match
The Rajasthan Royals openers brought up the 50 on the board in 3.1 overs. The stand between Buttler and D’Arcy Short would be the Royals’ best opening partnership of VIVO IPL 2018.
Delhi Daredevils 196-6 in 17.1 Overs (Prithvi Shaw 47, Rishabh Pant 69, Shreyas Iyer 50, Jaydev Unadkat 3-46) beat
Rajasthan Royals 146-5 in 12.0 Overs (Jos Buttler 67, D’Arcy Short 44, Trent Boult 2-26) by 4 runs – DLS Method.
Man of the Match:
Rishabh Pant, for his 29-ball 69.