Unstoppable Delhi Capitals snatch away Rajasthan Royals’ Sharjah luck

Delhi Capitals (DC) climb to the top of the points table after registering their fifth win in six matches.

Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Given this year’s scoring standards at Sharjah, the Delhi Capitals (DC) would have found the target (185) they set for the opponents, slightly under-par. More than that, one would have expected the luck to swing Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) way after they returned at this venue. After all, this is where all had happened for the RR this year.

Backing his men, Steve Smith chose to field after winning the toss. He must have been content with the kind of start Jofra Archer gave to the team with the ball. A length ball from Archer on the pads, undid Shikhar Dhawan cheaply, who was looking to clear the inner circle, but failed to get the elevation and found Yashasvi Jaiswal at mid-wicket. It soon became clear that the track was not as quick as it was in the previous games here, and the ball was stopping a bit.

Stoinis and Hetmyer’s rescue act

Things went from bad to worse as the Capitals lost two key men – Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant – of their order to misjudged and uncalculated calls. While Iyer found himself short despite putting in the desperate dive after he pushed one for a single in covers, Pant mistook partner Marcus Stoinis’ instinctive steps after middling the ball as a call for a run, only to find himself well short of the crease.

Jolted by back to back blows, DC found themselves ill-placed at 79 for 4 before Marcus Stoinis (39 off 30) and Shimron Hetmyer (45 off 24) upped the ante. The latter looked in dangerous form when he slapped two sixes in a row to Kartik Tyagi, who gave away 14 runs in the 16th over.

However, the youngster had the last laugh as Htemyer holed out to long-on, where Rahul Tewatia made no mistake. Though both the Patels- Axar and Harshal, did a bit of damage through their cameos, at the halfway mark, Smith would have not been disappointed by the effort of his team that restricted the Capitals to 184.

Lost during the chase

Considering that they hunted down the highest-ever chase only days ago at the same venue, RR must have backed themselves to chase 185 down with ease. However, the Capitals’ bowlers had different plans. Ravichandran Ashwin got the better off Jos Buttler courtesy of a marvellous catch by Shikhar Dhawan at square leg. With a big gun gone cheaply in the powerplay, things started to look not-so-easy for the Royals.

Youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal (34 from 36) struggled to get into the flow, and he ate up more balls than the situation allowed him to. Skipper Steve Smith played a couple of positive strokes, although Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada tightened the noose around both the batsmen to bring them under pressure.

Middle-order crumbled under pressure

A slow start, struggling Jaiswal, and lack of intent, saw the required run rate shoot up quickly. A brief partnership between Smith and Jaiswal aside, the middle-order of the Royals looked absolutely bamboozled in front of both the Patels and Stoinis. Once Nortje got rid of Smith, who was dismissed by a jaw-dropping catch of Hetmyer in the deep, the floodgates were left wide open for the other bowlers to barge in.

Expectations from Sanju Samson – who lasted only 9 balls – were high, although a much simpler catch for Hetmyer at long-on after he smacked a length ball of Stoinis in the air, brought down curtains upon him. Rahul Tewatia did show some courage, however, chasing more than 20 an over after a point of time was always an unlikely pursuit. Wickets kept tumbling from the other end, and the Royals eventually ended 46 runs short to suffer their fourth straight loss on the trot.

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