Ajinkya Rahane (60, 46b, 5×4, 1×6) and Shikhar Dhawan (54, 41b, 6×4) returned to form and helped Delhi Capitals seal second spot at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The convincing six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore was set up by a fine bowling performance that restricted RCB to 152, before Rahane and Dhawan came good with an 88-run second-wicket partnership.
RCB, too, confirmed its place in the playoffs, after making DC bat more than 17.3 overs and ensuring that its net run rate (NRR) doesn’t fall below Kolkata Knight Riders’ in fourth.
Dhawan started the chase with four cracking boundaries through the off-side, including an exquisite straight drive off Mohammed Siraj. Rahane was composed, catching the eye with his excellent use of the feet. The two boundaries he hit off Isuru Udana through the cover and past mid-off to round off the PowerPlay were pleasing.
After scoring 53 from six overs, the duo dropped anchor and consolidated. But in the 13th over, Dhawan was caught at short fine-leg trying a cheeky sweep. Rahane, a little while later, perished in the same area trying a cheekier shot, a reverse-sweep. But DC was not to be denied the win.
Earlier, Devdutt Padikkal top-scored with his fifth half century (50, 41b, 5×4). But it was again left to Virat Kohli (29, 24b, 2×4, 1×6) and AB de Villiers (35, 21b, 1×4, 2×6) to do the heavy-lifting, a job in which they didn’t succeed. Kohli was foxed by R. Ashwin (4-0-18-1) while de Villiers was run out.
After Shreyas Iyer chose to bowl, the PowerPlay fetched RCB just 40 runs. Josh Philippe was restless during his 17-ball 12 but Padikkal made full use of the pace from Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, lifting and guiding the duo for three boundaries on the off-side.
Kohli’s stay contained a crunching back-foot drive off Nortje, a fierce hit over extra-cover off Rabada and a six over long-on off Axar Patel. He was dropped by Nortje in the deep off Axar in the 10th over, but Ashwin teased the skipper into charging him with a slow delivery and had him caught at deep mid-wicket.
In the 16th over, Nortje breached Padikkal’s defence with a 152kmph snorter and had Chris Morris caught behind. But in a 10-ball window across the 18th and 19th overs, de Villiers and Dube raised hopes by smashing 28 runs. However, they fell within three balls of each other, denying RCB the necessary tail-wind.
MI vs DC on November 5
MI and DC, the top two finishers, will meet in Qualifier 1 in Dubai on November 5.
RCB, which has also made it to the playoffs, will meet either KKR or SRH in the Eliminator in Abu Dhabi on November 6.