On a night when some quality, express pace lit up the Dubai International Stadium, Delhi Capitals emerged victorious against Rajasthan Royals. That perhaps wasn’t surprising, as DC boasts the fastest, deadliest pair of pacers in the IPL.
The South Africans, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, received good support from debutant seamer Tushar Deshpande and spinners R. Ashwin and Axar Patel as well, as DC won by 13 runs, defending an unimposing total of 161 for seven. The win also put Shreyas Iyer’s men back on top of the table.
Shreyas (53, 43b, 3×4, 2×6), who had to leave the field after hurting his shoulder, had earlier put on 85 for the third wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (57, 33b, 6×4, 2×6).
They had to repair the DC innings, which had been reduced to 10 for two by Jofra Archer, who removed Prithvi Shaw with the first ball. The opener was bowled: his feet didn’t move, even as Archer’s ball did just enough.
Later on, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes gave a brisk start to RR’s chase, both unleashing some spectacular shots. They added 37 inside the third over, which witnessed some great cricket.
Nortje was welcomed into the attack by Buttler with a glorious six over long-on. The batsman then ramped him to fine-leg twice for four. But the bowler had his revenge off the last ball, as Buttler was bowled through the gate by a delivery that clocked 155kmph.
A little later, Ashwin ensured Steve Smith would not get his form back in this match, inducing a leading edge from the Royals captain and completing the return catch. Then Deshpande had a dream start to his IPL career as he removed Stokes (41, 35b, 6×4) to end the threatening third-wicket partnership with Sanju Samson.
The Kerala batsman would soon follow Stokes to the dug-out, bowled by an arm ball from Axar, and when Riyan Parag was needlessly run out, Royals slumped to 110 for five.
Robin Uthappa (32, 27b, 3×4, 1×6) had an excellent chance to become the hero by taking his side over the line, but an express Nortje yorker ended those hopes.