The spectacular run of Delhi Capitals continued in the Dream11 Indian Premier League.
Termed as the underdogs prior to the start of the thirteenth edition of the IPL, Delhi Capitals once again displayed an outstanding all-round performance to demolish Rajasthan Royals by 46 runs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.
The fifth win in six matches propelled the Shreyas Iyer-led side to the top of the table with 10 points in their kitty. The way they are making rapid strides, it wouldnâ€™t be surprising if they become one of the first teams to book their play-off berth.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals crashed to their fourth defeat in a row and are lying at the seventh spot with just four points to their credit after six ties. They had a rollicking launch to the season by winning the first two games but they flattered to deceive.
Put in to bat by Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith, Delhi Capitals posted a competitive total of 184 for 8 and then rolled over the opposition for mere 138 in 19.4 overs with an excellent bowling show.
For a brief period when teenage opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (34: 36 balls, 1×4, 2×6) and Smith (24: 17 balls, 2×4, 1×6) were batting at the crease, Rajasthan Royals looked like making a strong fight. They were well-placed at 56 for 1 after 8 overs.
However, they lost the track after the dismissal of Smith and didnâ€™t even play their quota of 20 overs. Much was expected from Sanju Samson as he had played a major role in both the RR wins at the same ground earlier, but he too did not last long.
Rahaul Tewatia (38: 29 balls, 3×4, 2×6) tried hard to repeat the Sharjah magic when he had hit five sixes in an over against Kings XI Punjab a couple of weeks ago but he ran out of partners.
Tall speedster Kagiso Rabada yet again proved his sheer class by snaring three wickets at the cost of 35 runs. But it was the spell of Ravichandran Ashwin which turned the match on its head. The veteran offie pocketed two for 22 at the crucial juncture of the game and was adjudged man-of-the-match. Medium-pacer Marcus Stoinis also chipped in with two wickets.
Earlier, aÂ quick-fire knock by Shimron Hetmyer and useful contribution by Stoinis enabled Delhi Capitals to post a competitive total.
Delhi Capitals did not have the best of starts as Shikhar Dhawan (5) departed cheaply. Prithvi Shaw (19: 10 balls, 2×4)) and skipper Shreyas Iyer (22: 18 balls, 4×4) looked in good touch but failed to capitalise on the fine starts.
While Shaw was held in his follow-through by Jofra Archer, Iyer was run out by Yashasvi Jaiswal after his mix-up with Rishabh Pant. The wicketkeeper-batsman was also dismissed in the same fashion as he went for a non-existent single while batting with Marcus Stoinis.
When it looked DC would crumble under pressure, Stoinis and Hetmyer bailed them out with some big hitting. Stoinis, who is contributing in almost every match with the bat, continued his fine showing with a superb 39 off 30 balls. He did not slam a single four but hammered four sixes, making good use of the small Sharjah ground.
Hetmyer was more severe on the Rajasthan Royals bowlers. The flamboyant southpaw smashed 45 off just 24 balls. The West Indies star cracked a four and five towering sixes. He could have completed his fifty with another six but he was held at the long-on boundary ropes by a leaping Rahul Tewatia off Kartik Tyagi. Hetmyer was very annoyed with the way he got out as he looked determined for a big innings.
Axar Patel (17) and Harshal Patel (16) somehow maintained the tempo but could not accelerate much. In the last five overs, Delhi Capitals piled up 62 runs but also lost three wickets.
Archer (3-24) and Tewatia (1-20) shone with the ball for Rajasthan Royals. A brilliant final over from Archer in which he took a wicket and conceded just 3 singles helped RR restrict DC below the 200-run mark.
On Saturday, there will be a double decker. In the afternoon game, Kolkata Knight Riders will take on bottom placed Kings XI Punjab at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi while another struggling team Chennai Super Kings will clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The evening match will be a cracker of the game as CSK desperately need to win after four defeats. RCB also lost their previous game against Delhi Capitals.
Delhi Capitals 184 for 8 in 20 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 45, Marcus Stoinis 39, Shreyas Iyer 22, Prithvi Shaw 19, Axar Patel 17, Harshal Patel 16; Jofra Archer 3-24, Rahul Tewatia 1-20, Kartik Tyagi 1-35, Andrew Tye 1-50) beat Rajasthan RoyalsÂ 138 in 19.4 overs (Rahul Tewatia 38, Yashasvi Jaiswal 34, Steve Smith 24, Jos Butler 13; Kagiso Rabada 3-35, Marcus Stoinis 2-17, Ravichandran Ashwin 2-22, Axar Patel 1-8, Anrich Nortje 1-25, Harshal Patel 1-29) by 46 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Ravichandran Ashwin (Delhi Capitals).