Rishabh Pant’s blistering 78 overshadowed Ajinkya Rahane’s fine century as Delhi Capitals moved to the top of the table after beating Rajasthan Royals by 6 wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Monday. Pant was omitted from the Indian World Cup squad in favour of Dinesh Karthik, but the youngster again showcased his fine hitting abilities by almost single-handedly taking Delhi home.
Rajasthan went in with an unchanged XI, while Delhi included Chris Morris in place of Sandeep Lamichhane.
After being sent into bat by DC skipper, Rajasthan Royals lost the early wicket of Sanju Samson, run out by a magnificent piece of fielding from Kagiso Rabada.
Relieved of the captaincy by the franchise’s owners, Rahane looked more free-flowing and assured at the wicket, and added 130 for the second wicket with Steve Smith. The latter fell soon after reaching his half century, caught by Morris off Axar Patel.
The visitors then further halted Rajasthan’s momentum by bagging the wickets of Ben Stokes and Ashton Turner in question. Turner bagged his third golden duck in this IPL, and his fifth in succession in T20’s- an unwanted record for the Australian.
Rahane had been dropped on 16 by Ishant Sharma, but made the most of his life scoring a scintillating century, with 11 fours and 3 sixes. Rajasthan Royals posted a competitive total of 191/6 in their allotted 20 overs, but it was perhaps 20 or so short given the wonderful start they had, and was proved so by Delhi’s batsmen.
Rabada was Delhi’s best bowler as he bagged 2/37 in 4 overs, while Sharma, Patel and Morris bagged a wicket apiece.
Chasing a target of 193, the opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan made a fantastic start as the duo added a quickfire 72 runs in 45 balls, before Shreyas Gopal got the breakthrough by dismissing Dhawan for a breezy 54.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer soon followed Dhawan back to the pavillion as he fell to youngster Riyan Parag. Teenager Shaw andwith dashing wicket keeper batsman Pant added 84 runs for the third wicket, before the former became Gopal’s second victim as he fell for 42.
Shane Rutherford after making a quickfire 11 before he was dismissed by Dhawal Kulkarni in the penultimate.
However the 21 year old Pant kept his cool and batted till the end to guide Delhi Capitals to a comfortable win with 4 balls to spare. There was to be no repeat of the meltdown they had suffered against Punjab earlier in the tournament as Pant ensured he stayed till the end.
The 41st match of the Indian Premier League will be played between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad at Chennai on April 23, Tuesday.