Superb bowling on a slow pitch where batting was difficult helped Delhi Capitals outplay Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs in a low-scoring match and move to the top of the points table in IPL 2021 at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.It was the first day-match of the UAE leg of the IPL 2021 and the conditions were tough for the batters -- the scorching conditions making batting even more difficult on a pitch on which the ball was not coming on. Rajasthan skipper Sanju Samson won the toss and decided to bowl first, reckoning that the pitch will ease off in the second innings.But nothing sort of that happened as Delhi Capitals put on a modest 154/6 and then came out to defend it with a lot to spare. Shreyas Iyer top-scored for Delhi with 43 and Shimron Hetmyer, who hit some pleasing boundaries during his short stay at the wicket, contributed a quick 28 as Delhi ended with a small total.Chasing a below-par target of 155, Rajasthan could manage only 121 for six in 20 overs, skipper Sanju Samson's unbeaten 70 went in vain as Delhi Capitals' used the conditions brilliantly to score their eighth win in IPL 2021 and moved past Chennai Super Kings to the top of the table with 16 points.Rajasthan got off to a disastrous start, down to 17/3 in the fifth over with Liam Livingstone (1), Yashasvi Jaiswal (5), and David Miller (7) falling to some good bowling, Avesh Khan, Anrich Nortje (2/18), and R Ashwin (1/20), who claimed his 250th IPL wicket.Rajasthan Skipper Sanju Samson waged a lone battle, keeping the scoreboard moving with singles and twos through small nudges and touches interspersed with trick shots, reverse sweeps, and scoops, hitting boundaries here and there. But in the end that proved too little and too late as Rajasthan fell well short of the target.
Put into bat, Delhi Capitals, too, got off to a poor start as both openers Shikhar Dhawan (8), who had the Purple Cap at the start of the match for being top scorer, and Prithvi Shaw (10) returning to the dugout with just 21 runs on the board.Dhawan (8) was the first to go, bowled by Kartik Tyagi as he chopped onto his stumps a delivery that landed at good length on middle and off and did not take off from the wicket. Shaw too did not last long as he tried to loft Chetan Sakariya from the middle and off only to balloon a simple catch to Liam Livingstone at mid-off. Delhi ended the Powerplay with 36/2.Tyagi, who took a fifer in Rajasthan's first match, was taken for 11 runs in his second over with both Pant and Iyer hitting him for a boundary each. Delhi managed only three boundaries in the first eight overs in the hot and breezy conditions as Iyer and Pant resurrected the innings with a 62-run partnership.Iyer lofted Rahul Tewatia into the stands over his head for the first six of the Delhi Capitals innings and also handed Tabraiz Shamsi the same treatment, backing off to leg to make room and swatted it over extra cover.With Iyer and Pant trying to cut loose, Rajasthan skipper Samson made an inspired bowling change and brought in left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman. And the Bangladesh pacer broke the dangerous partnership by getting Pant to chop on to his wicket a fullish delivery wide outside the off. Pant got out for a run-a-ball 24 (4x2). Delhi were three down for 83. Iyer too was out soon as Delhi slumped to 90/4 in the 14th over, stumped by Samson off Tewatia.Hetmyer blasted a few boundaries but was out trying to hit out a yorker by Mustafizur as Delhi eventually crawled past the 150-run mark. In the final analysis, that too proved enough for a comfortable win.
Delhi Capitals 154/6 in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 43, Shimron Hetmyer 28, Rishabh Pant 23; MMustafizur Rahman 2/22, Chetan Sakariya 2/33) beat Rajasthan Royals 121/6 in 20 overs (Sanju Samson 70 not out; Anrich Nortje 2/18, Rabada 1/26).