Having broken the jinx of losing at home last week, Delhi Capitals on Sunday continued the momentum, registering a 16-run victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore. With 16 points in 12 games, it has all but qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Chasing 188 — which would have equalled the highest-total ever chased against Delhi in the IPL — RCB could only manage 171 for seven. RCB knew it would miss Moeen Ali, specially his batting, and the gap in its middle order showed up glaringly after a blistering start by Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli. It was also RCB’s first defeat here after six wins since 2011.
Parthiv was all aggression, pulling and smashing the DC bowlers with disdain. When he fell in the 6th over, caught by Axar Patel at backward point going for one big hit too many, he had outscored Kohli who survived a caught-behind chance but looked out of sorts before getting dismissed four runs later.
Axar, in fact, was clearly Delhi’s stand-out performer of the day. He scored important runs, picked up the crucial wicket of Kohli and latched on to two difficult catches to see the back of Parthiv and A.B. de Villiers.
RCB, in fact, would have folded up much earlier had Rahul Tewatia managed to hold on to Shivam Dube’s skier when on three off Amit Mishra.
Mishra, though, had the last laugh, picking up two wickets in an over to break the RCB middle.
Earlier, Shreyas Iyer’s decision to bat first was proved right, with Shikhar Dhawan setting the pace yet again, in partnership with Iyer, before a mini choke-and-collapse in the middle overs threatened to restrict the host to a below-par score.
The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar applied the breaks, dismissing the top-three Delhi batsmen — Shreyas, Dhawan and Rishabh Pant — in their four overs for just 29 runs.
The rewards, though, were nullified by Axar Patel and Sherfane Rutherford as they used the long handle to perfection at the death.
Navdeep Saini, who had struggled through the game, went for 20 in his final over as the two batsmen dealt in fours and sixes to push Delhi past the 180-run mark.
The last three overs fetched Delhi 46 runs and it made all the difference in the end.
The result meant RCB has all but bowed out of the race for a top-four spot. The Kohli-led team’s qualification remains a possibility on paper, but it depends on the results of several matches favouring it.
DELHI CAPITALS: Prithvi Shaw c Patel b Umesh 18 (10b, 4×4), Shikhar Dhawan c Washington b Chahal 50 (37b, 5×4, 2×6), Shreyas Iyer c Kohli b Washington 52 (37b, 2×4, 3×6), Rishabh Pant lbw b Chahal 7 (7b, 1×4), Colin Ingram c Washington b Saini 11 (7b, 1×4, 1×6), Sherfane Rutherford (not out) 28 (13b, 1×4, 3×6), Axar Patel (not out) 16 (9b, 3×4); Extras (b-4, lb-1): 5; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 187.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-35 (Shaw, 3.3 overs), 2-103 (Dhawan, 12.2), 3-127 (Pant, 14.5), 4-129 (Iyer, 15.3) 5-141 (Ingram, 16.5).
RCB BOWLING: Umesh 4-0-39-1, Washington 4-0-29-1, Chahal 4-0-41-2, Saini 4-0-44-1, Stoinis 3-0-24-0, Dube 1-0-5-0.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS: Parthiv Patel c Axar b Rabada 39 (20b, 7×4, 1×6), Virat Kohli c Rutherford b Axar 23 (17b, 2×4, 1×6), A.B. de Villiers c Axar b Rutherford 17 (19b, 1×6), Shivam Dube c Dhawan b Mishra 24 (16b, 2×6), Heinrich Klaasen c Pant b Mishra 3 (3b), Gurkeerat Mann c Pant b Ishant 27 (19b, 2×4, 1×6), Marcus Stoinis (not out) 32 (24b, 1×4, 2×6), Washington Sundar c Shreyas b Rabada 1 (2b), Umesh Yadav (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (w-2, lb-3): 5; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 171.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-63 (Parthiv, 5.5 overs), 2-68 (Kohli, 7.1), 3-103 (de Villiers, 11.3), 4-108 (Klaasen, 12.2), 5-111 (Dube, 12.6), 6-160 (Gurkeerat, 18.6), 7-164 (Washington, 19.2).
DELHI CAPITALS BOWLING: Ishant 4-0-40-1, Axar 4-0-26-1, Lamichhane 3-0-36-0, Rabada 4-0-31-2, Mishra 4-0-29-2, Rutherford 1-0-6-1.
Capitals won by 16 runs.