On a night when the Delhi Capitals fielders caught just about everything that came their way, with considerable style on a few occasions, Rajasthan Royals failed to put an end to its miserable run. Not even a return to its happy hunting ground — the Sharjah Cricket Stadium — helped, as RR lost by 46 runs on Friday.
The target of 185 proved too much for RR, as it slid to its fourth defeat in a row; only Kings XI Punjab is placed below it, with the tournament nearing the half-way mark. DC meanwhile replaced Mumbai Indians at the top of the IPL table after posting its fifth win in six games.
The night had begun promisingly for RR, with Smith winning the toss and his bowlers not allowing the rival batsmen to settle down.
On a small ground, which has already witnessed the biggest chase in IPL history (by RR, in fact), things weren’t looking good for Shreyas Iyer’s men. But Marcus Stoinis (39, 30b, 4×6) and Shimron Hetmyer (45, 24b, 1×4, 5×6) ensured their bowlers would have something to defend.
Once again, Jofra Archer was the pick of RR’s bowlers, taking three for 24 off four overs.
When Shreyas brought R. Ashwin into the attack in the third over of RR’s innings, the prospects of an interesting battle within a battle emerged. The India off-spinner won that battle against Jos Buttler, this time in a more conventional manner than last season’s run-out at the bowler’s end.
The Englishman’s plan to hit the bowler over mid-wicket didn’t quite come off, Shikhar Dhawan taking a terrific diving catch at square-leg.
Ashwin was named man of the match for his two wickets. (BCCI/IPL)
Then, another excellent piece of catching saw the back of Steve Smith. The RR captain’s flick off Anrich Nortje, DC’s lesser-celebrated South African seamer, was picked up by Hetmyer diving forward.
There was more to come before long from the West Indian though, as he waited patiently for Sanju Samson’s miscued hit, towards long-on off Stoinis, to land safely in his hands. The wait for the Kerala dasher to return to form continues, however.
Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (34, 36b, 1×4, 2×6) and Rahul Tewatia (38, 29b, 3×4, 2×6) down the order tried hard, but it was just not enough against a top side in top form.