Delhi snuff Royals' thin hopes

Delhi Capitals' Ishant Sharma (centre) celebrates with his team-mates after dismissing Rajasthan Royals' batsman Liam Livingtone in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

It has been a season of resurgence for Delhi Capitals. A new name and management seemed to have suited them just fine as they wrapped up their last league match with a five-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Saturday.

The victory swelled Delhi’s points tally to 18 and enhanced their chances of a top-two finish, going into the playoffs. Rajasthan’s run in this season, however, is now over. They finished with 11 points.

Rajasthan’s batting fell apart with the exception of young Riyan Parag (50). Amit Mishra (3-17), Ishant Sharma (3-38) and Trent Boult (2-27) hunted in pack to restrict the visitors to a below-par 115/9. Rajasthan fought back through spinners Ish Sodhi and Shreyas Gopal, but couldn’t stop Delhi, led by Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 53, from romping home with 23 balls remaining.

Delhi’s chase was hit by the departures of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw in the first two balls of Sodhi’s opening over (third of the innings). Shreyas Iyer and Pant revived the chase, but the captain mistimed his shot to be caught at long-on in the eighth over.

Pant played a solid innings. Curbing his attacking instincts in the beginning, he later stepped up the ante, to anchor the chase. He hit a six off the last ball to raise his half-century and with it seal Delhi’s victory too.

On a pitch that required batsmen to show patience and build their innings, Rajasthan’s attacking approach was misplaced. Boult showed control with the new ball, but it was Ishant who scalped three of the four batsmen.

Captain Ajinkya Rahane mistimed a flick to be caught at wide fine-leg, and an over later, Liam Livingstone’s defence was breached by a slower one. Sanju Samson was run out in a terrible mix-up, and Mahipal Lomror was caught behind. By the time Rajasthan finished the powerplay at 30/4, it was seeped in trouble.

Mishra hurt then further in the 12th over. Shreyas Gopal was stumped. Stuart Binny stuck out his bat in the next delivery but Mishra’s tossed up ball took the edge of his bat. Mishra was now on a hat-trick. K Gowtham’s slog off the googly raised the possibility but Boult misjudged the skier. Mishra then dismissed him in his next over.

Only Parag, 17, stood tall amidst the ruins. He adapted well to the slow conditions and showed a great temperament to combat challenge. He stubbornly held on and stayed till the end to take the score past 100. In the final over, Parag let himself loose, hitting Boult for two sixes; his quick pair of hands and strong physique sent the ball soaring. In the process, he became the youngest to score an IPL half-century. But it was Delhi’s night and they took a victory lap later to thank the home fans.

 

SCORE BOARD

RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Ajinkya Rahane c Dhawan b Sharma 2 (4b), Liam Livingstone b Sharma 14 (13b, 1x4, 1x6), Sanju Samson run out (Shaw/Pant) 5(8b), Mahipal Lomror c Pant b Sharma 8 (3b, 2x4), Shreyas Gopal st Pant b Mishra 12(18b), Ryan Parag c Rutherford b Boult 50(49b, 4x4, 2x6), Stuart Binny c Pant b Mishra 0(1b), K. Gowtham c Sharma b Mishra 6(6b, 1x4), Ish Sodhi c Mishra b Boult 6(11b), Varun Aaron not out 3(7b).

Extras: (w-9) 9. Total: (for nine wkts in 20 overs) 115

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Rahane), 2-20 (Livingstone), 3-26 (Samson) 4-30 (Lomror), 5-57 (Gopal), 6-57 (Binny), 7-65 (Gowtham), 8-95 (Sodhi), 9-115 (Parag)

Bowling: Trent Boult 4-0-27-2 (w-3), Ishant Sharma 4-0-38-3 (w-2), Axar Patel 4-0-16-0, Amit Mishra 4-0-17-3, Keemo Paul 3.1-0-15-0 (w-1), Sherfane Rutherford 0.5-0-2-0

DELHI CAPITALS: Prithvi Shaw b Sodhi 8(8b, 1x4), Shikhar Dhawan c Parag n Sodhi 16(12b, 2x4), Shreyas Iyer c Livingstone b Gopal 15(9b, 2x6), Rishabh Pant not out 53 (38b, 2x4, 5x6), Colin Ingram c Rahane b Sodhi 12(23b), Sherfane Rutherford c Livingstone b Gopal 11(6b), Axar Patel not out 1(1b). Extras (LB-4, W-1) 5. Total (for 5 wkts, in 16.1 overs) 121.

Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Dhawan), 2-28 (Shaw), 3-61 (Iyer), 4-83 (Ingram), 5-106 (Rutherford),

Bowling: K Gowtham 4-0-16-0, Varun Aaron 2-0-21-0 (w-1), Oshane Thomas 1-0-13-0, Ish Sodhi 3.1-1-26-3, Shreyas Gopal 4-0-21-2, Riyan Parag 1-0-14-0, Stuart Binny 1-0-6-0.

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