The Delhi Capitals climbed to the top of the VIVO IPL 2019 standings after they defeated the Rajasthan Royals by five wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday night. Set a target of 192, the Delhi Capitals were powered by entertaining half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant; the visitors got over the line with four balls to spare.
No matter how good the surface, a chase of 192 was always going to be demanding. But the Delhi Capitals’ task was made easy by Shikhar Dhawan, who blazed away at the top of the innings; the left-hander scored a 25-ball half-century, dominated a 72-run opening stand and set the foundation for the chase. Rishabh Pant, with his aggressive batting, ensured Dhawan’s good work wouldn’t be undone; he scored 78 from 36 balls and completed the job.
Earlier in the evening, the Rajasthan Royals rode on Ajinkya Rahane’s second IPL hundred and his 130-run partnership with Steve Smith to post 191-6. After Sanju Samson was dismissed at the start of the second over – run out at the non-striker’s end without facing a delivery, the Royals bounced back in style through the second-wicket partnership. The Royals were 52-1 at the end of the powerplay period and bulldozed their way through the middle nine overs adding 98 runs for the loss of Smith’s wicket. They lost a bit of momentum in the final five overs though, only scoring 41 runs while also losing four wickets.
For the Delhi Capitals, the wickets were shared between four bowlers. Kagiso Rabada hit the stumps twice in the twentieth over to finish with figures of 2-37, while Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel and Chris Morris picked up a wicket apiece.
Standout batting performances
Shikhar Dhawan’s changed batting approach has been a huge contributor to the Delhi Capitals turning around their campaign this season. On Monday night too, Dhawan began aggressively, collecting seven boundaries and two sixes in the powerplay period; the left-hander contributed 54 out of the Delhi Capitals’ score of 72 before he was dismissed. Dhawan smashed eight boundaries and two sixes, and scored 44 of his 54 runs through the leg-side.
Rishabh Pant once again illustrated why he is rated as one of the most exciting young batsmen in the world currently. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who walked out to bat after Shreyas Iyer was dismissed in the ninth over, took the chase by the horns almost instantly; he contributed 60 runs in a third wicket partnership of 84 with Prithvi Shaw. Pant, who brought up his half-century off 25 balls, finished unbeaten on 78; he scored 72 of those runs on the leg-side!
One can only speculate if it was the feeling of being liberated (having been relieved of captaincy) or if it him wanting to prove a point, that Ajinkya Rahane batted the way he did on Monday evening. The Rajasthan Royals opener oozed with class during his 105 not out – made from 63 balls and studded with eleven fours and three sixes; while several of those boundaries were the outcome of copybook strokes, Rahane also improvised and played aggressive strokes occasionally. Rahane scored all round the park and was extremely severe on the left-arm spinner Axar Patel, off who he scored 31 runs from 14 balls.
Rahane was handed a life early in his knock; in the fifth over, when he was still on 16 off 17 balls, Ishant Sharma dropped a regulation catch at short fine-leg. It was from this point that Rahane accelerated; he brought up his half-century off 32 balls, and reached three figures 26 balls later.
Steve Smith scored a fluent half-century too – his second in two matches. It appeared as if the Royals captain could only see the gaps in the field; he favoured the leg-side and collected 80% of his runs on that side of the wickets. Smith hit eight fours and reached his half-century off 31 balls. He was dismissed at the start of the fourteenth over when he attempted to hit Axar Patel out of the ground, but was caught right at the edge of the long-off boundary.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Prithvi Shaw had endured a lean patch in the last few matches. But on Monday night, he made the most of lady luck shining on him. The 19-year old was handed a reprieve on 10 when Ashton Turner put down a catch. He struggled for timing for most part of his stay at the crease, tried to change his bat on a couple of occasions, and generally looked ill at ease at the crease. But Shaw persevered and batted until the seventeenth over; his 42 – made from 39 balls – was decorated with four boundaries and a six
Stat of the Match
The 130-run stand between Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith would be the Rajasthan Royals’ best second wicket partnership in the IPL. The pair broke the previous record of 121 – set by Rahane together with Owais Shah in 2012.
Delhi Capitals: 193-4 in 19.2 overs (Prithvi Shaw 42, Shikhar Dhawan 54, Rishabh Pant 78*) defeated
Rajasthan Royals: 191-6 (Ajinkya Rahane 105*, Steve Smith 50) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match
Rishabh Pant, for his 78 not out.