New Delhi: In what turned out to be a run-fest, the eventual difference between the winning and losing side proved to be just 4 runs. Hosts DD were lucky to escape with a win while RR would rue DÁrcy Short slump in the building phase for losing the match by such a close margin.
After the match was delayed due to rain, RR were given 151 to chase in 12 overs, after DD scored 196 in 17.1 overs. The D/L method put an asking rate of over 12 for RR to claim a win. But with Jos Buttler coming out in a furious mood, even an asking rate of 15 could have been razed down. The English batsman displayed smart tactics in the crease and developed a stable base to pummel massive sixes. His pyrotechnics had put RR on course to pull off a heist. Buttler scored 67 in just 26 balls.
But DD cannot thank Amit Mishra enough for his brilliant spell of 2-0-12-1, in which the experienced leggie not only removed Buttler but also kept the other RR batsmen silent.
Short did bloom late but lost his wicket at a crucial stage especially after hitting three consecutive sixes off Maxwell. Trent Boult made sure he cut down the pace from his deliveries to make batting all the more difficult on such a placid wicket.
Earlier, Rishabh Pant too displayed fireworks to take Delhi to a competitive 196/6. His knock off 69 in 29 balls laid the foundation for DD to aim for a big total. Alongside him, skipper Shreyas Iyer came up with a gritty fifty and anchored the innings. At the start, Prithvi Shaw looked in a devastating mood and scored 45 to power DD to a healthy score after the power play.
when Rishabh Pant joined Shreyas Iyer in the middle in the 8th over, DD were well sailing at 68/1 with a run-rate of close to 10. And from here it was just a matter of maintaining the tempo. With rain a possibility, it was always imperative for DD to keep well above the par score should Duckworth Lewis be consulted later on.
Pant has been in form this IPL. He was also aware how RR had won the first leg due to rain and D/L method. It was a grudge he kept while walking out to bat. With no pressure whatsoever, he bullied RR with such power hitting that it felt the ball could break.
Pant stood deep in the crease, so deep that his feet were inside the box. The pitch was very good to bat to and by now he had gotten used to the pace of the pitch. Anything slightly short was sitting up nicely and was asking to be hit. So when Ben Stokes probed the shorter length, Pant slapped it through mid-wicket for a boundary.
And because he stood deep inside the crease, the length ball turned out to be the best ball to hit through the line. Jofra Archer was thumped over long-on for a six. Next up it was Unadkat, who too dropped it short and got the treatment. whatever field you may set against pant, if he has hit it, there is no chance that a fielder could cut it off. It rolls down the ground at such high speed that the fielders simply see the ball hit the skirting.
Spinners too refrained from the bowling fuller to him but Pant's wise approach to staying deep paid rich dividends as he could swivel easily even to a slightly short ball and play the pull powerfully. For RR, Unadkat was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets but proved expensive.