By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
ABU DHABI: Experience prevailed over youth as seasoned campaigners Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan scored responsible half-centuries to guide Delhi Capitals to a crucial six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday. The penultimate league match of the Dream11 Indian Premier League witnessed fierce battle at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi as DC and RCB wanted to seal their places in the playoffs.
In the end, both teams qualified for the high-profile playoffs. While DC finished second with 16 points to their credit, RCB also secured a berth despite the fourth defeat in a row with 14 points under their belt. The fourth and final spot will be decided after the last league outing on Tuesday between defending champions and table toppers Mumbai Indians (18 points) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (12 points).
If SRH win they will make the cut otherwise Kolkata Knight Riders (14 points) will sneak through as the fourth team. Ending a four-match losing sequence, DC produced a far better performance to notch up their eighth win of the competition. Chasing a modest target of 153, DC got off to a flying start through Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. In just ten balls, DC raced to 19 runs before Mohammed Siraj castled Shaw (9) to cut short the entertainment.
Rahane then joined Dhawan and continued a steady flow of runs without taking any big risk. The left-right combination of Dhawan and Rahane added vital 88 runs for the second wicket to strengthen DC’s situation. Dhawan perished soon after reaching his fifty. The opener struck a brilliant 54 off 41 deliveries with the help of six boundaries. Rahane in the company of Shreyas Iyer were marching towards an easy win but both got out to wrong shots raising a slight hope for RCB.
While Iyer played a lofted shot straight into the hands of long-on fielder Mohd Siraj off Shahbaz Ahmed, Rahane’s reverse sweep was caught by short fine-leg fielder Shivam Dube off Washington Sundar. However, Marcus Stoinis (10 not out) and Rishabh Pant (8 not out) played sensibly to take their side home with an over to spare.
Earlier, Iyer won the toss and invited RCB to take first strike. Despite Devdutt Padikkal’s yet another half-century, RCB managed to post a modest total of 152 for 7 on the board. In-form Padikkal hammered 50 runs off 41 balls with the help of 5 fours. Josh Philippe (12) was the first to get departed as he sliced a slower one from Kagiso Rabada and it flew to Shaw.
The tall opener Padikkal, who is one of the top finds of the tournament, was then involved in a 57-run stand with skipper Virat Kolhi, who contributed 29. Kohli was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin with Stoinis taking an excellent catch in the deep. Anrich Nortje gave RCB two blows in the same over by sending out Padikkal and Chris Morris for a duck. He finished with a brilliant figures of 3 for 33 and was later adjudged as man-of-the-match.
AB de Villiers displayed a typical busy innings with a quick-fire 35 before he got run out. Tailender Isuru Udana was also run out as RCB could only muster 6 runs in the last over of the innings. Dube played a cameo of 17 runs but became second victim of Rabada.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 152 for 7 in 20 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 50, AB de Villiers 35, Virat Kohli 29, Shivam Dube 17, Josh Philippe 12; Anrich Nortje 3-33, Kagiso Rabada 2-30, Ravichandran Ashwin 1-18) lost to Delhi Capitals 154 for 4 in 19 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 60, Shikhar Dhawan 54, Marcus Stoinis 10 not out, Rishabh Pant 8 not out; Shahbaz Ahmed 2-26, Washington Sundar 1-24, Mohammed Siraj 1-29) by six wickets. Man-of-the-match: Anrich Nortje (DC).