The law of averages caught up with orange cap holder Jos Buttler, luck deserted purple cap holder Yuzvendra Chahal. As the two leading acts of Rajasthan Royals suffered on the same day, Delhi Capitals capitalised to register an eight-wicket win at the DY Patil stadium on Wednesday to keep their playoffs hopes alive.
DC’s Mitchell Marsh dominated proceedings with bat and bowl—an innings of 89 (62b, 5×4, 7×6) to add to his spell of 3-0-25-2. On the scoreboard, the David Warner-Marsh second-wicket partnership of 144 in a run chase of 160 makes it appear straightforward. But things were a lot trickier at the start of Delhi’s innings.
Trent Boult began brightly for RR, sending Srikar Bharat back second ball. He could have had Warner leg before early in the innings had he reviewed, but didn’t. The Kiwi left-armer was putting on a show of how it’s done with the new ball, hitting lengths and consistently targetting the outside edge of Warner and Marsh. But important for Delhi, he kept missing the edges and the experienced batters were happy to ride their luck.
In the ninth over, Chahal could have got Warner out thrice, but he survived a dropped chance and even the bails remained stubborn, not falling, as he escaped being bowled.
Chahal kept up his efforts to deceive the batters in flight. Skipper Sanju Samson, seeing the match slip away, even brought Krishna back on to bowl the 13th over to break the Warner-Marsh stand, but found no success as the Australian left-right duo appeared determined to recreate their 2021 T20 World Cup final heroics.
Marsh remained on the offensive against the quicks, intermittently launching into sixes of the front and back foot. Warner, who had been playing second fiddle, cut loose after the second time-out and there was no stopping Delhi after that.
Royals suffered an early blow while batting when Buttler, after scoring 30% of RR’s runs in the tournament, chipped a Chetan Sakariya half-volley straight to mid-on, on seven.
With Buttler gone and Shimron Hetmyer absent, RR promoted Ravichandran Ashwin to No 3. The move appeared more to lengthen the batting order than to push the scoring rate with a pinch-hitter. The experienced all-rounder played his role to perfection while the field was up, stealing three fours and a six through timing and placement to push RR’s powerplay returns to 43. Soon after, Ashwin found it difficult to hit out against Delhi’s spinners and Marsh’s pace-off deliveries and thoughts of retiring himself out would have crossed his mind.
This time he decided to stick it out and re-discovered his hitting range when he carted Kuldeep Yadav over the straight boundary in the 12th over. By the time Ashwin was out, at the start of the 15th over on 50 (38b, 4×4, 2×6), the RR change room was happy to welcome him back in the dugout.
Royals would have liked more runs in the death overs than the 44 they got in the final five. But Samson (6) lost his shape while trying to hit fast bowler Anrich Nortje out of the park, Riyan Parag (9) fell to a Sakariya’s back-of-the-hand slower ball and Shardul Thakur produced a mean five-run final over to keep the RR total in check.