Rajasthan show semi-final intent with crushing win over Delhi

Rajasthan were helped by Ajinkya Rahane’s steady half-century, brisk cameos from Kevon Cooper and Sanju Samson, and James Faulkner’s late flourish to pile on 201 for six, to which Delhi had no answer.
A 50-ball knock of 64 by Ajinkya Rahane earned him the man-of-the-match award on behalf of Rajasthan Royals. Ravindranath K / The National
A 50-ball knock of 64 by Ajinkya Rahane earned him the man-of-the-match award on behalf of Rajasthan Royals. Ravindranath K / The National

Rajasthan 201-6 (20 ov)

Delhi 139-9 (20 ov)

Toss: Delhi, chose to field

Rajasthan: Rahane 64, Samson 40, Cooper 32; Tahir 2-25, Nadeem 2-35

Delhi: Tiwary 61; Bhatia 2-18, Faulkner 1-6, Binny 1-14

Man of the match: Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan)

Rajasthan Royals stepped up a gear when it mattered at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, as they overwhelmed Delhi Daredevils by 62 runs.

Rajasthan’s seventh win this season was attained with supreme comfort, the gulf between the sides standing comprehensively exposed. In the absence of Shane Watson, who sat out due to a niggle, Rajasthan were helped by Ajinkya Rahane’s steady half-century, brisk cameos from Kevon Cooper and Sanju Samson, and James Faulkner’s late flourish to pile on 201 for six.

Delhi never threatened to make a match of it, tied down by Rajasthan’s assortment of bowling options, limping to 139 for nine when they ran out of time.

Languishing at the bottom of the table, Delhi had nothing to lose and could have put up a fight, but were let down by the shortcomings of both their batsmen and bowlers. After conceding 201, apart from Manoj Tiwary’s steady-paced unbeaten 61 off 44 balls, the Delhi scorecard did not make for happy reading.

After a dust storm swept across the ground and a slight drizzle delayed the start of play by 15 minutes, Rajasthan, asked to bat first, began breezily through Rahane and Karun Nair with a 44-run partnership.

Sending Cooper as pinch-hitter clicked as a surprise move as Delhi’s bowlers were not allowed to settle down.

Both Nadeem and Imran Tahir came in for heavy punishment, and JP Duminy too was hit for a six when he came on.

Cooper was completely at ease, finding boundaries at will, while Rahane took a backseat during their association. Cooper eventually perished to JP Duminy after a 16-ball 32, his highest score, but had taken Rajasthan to 93 for two in the 11th over by then.

Rahane continued unperturbed with Samson for company. Samson, who was left out of Rajasthan’s previous game – against Chennai Super Kings – soon got down to business with a straight six off Tiwary.

Coming into this game without notable contributions with the bat in his last seven outings, Samson batted with intent, holding the innings together and providing the momentum during his 25-ball stay that added 40 runs to the total.

At the other end, Rahane reached his half-century in 45 deliveries, upping the ante once Shukla came back into the attack in the 16th over.

He then carted a juicy full toss off Nadeem into the stands, but was beaten by the turn two deliveries later. His 64 in 50 balls earned him the man-of-the-match award.

Tahir then provided crucial breakthroughs, sending Stuart Binny and Samson back in the 18th over. The run-rate came down and allowed Delhi to regroup, but only for a brief period.

Ben Cutting, replacing Watson in the playing XI, made his IPL debut in style, smashing a straight six over the roof off the first ball he faced.

Faulkner followed suit, first targeting Tiwary’s part-time legspin, and then taking Shukla to the cleaners with consecutive sixes in the final over. Despite losing four wickets in the last five overs, Rajasthan added 60 runs in those 30 balls.

Chasing a daunting 202, Delhi lost Mayank Agarwal and Dinesh Karthik within five overs.

Agarwal, dropped by Cutting on four, went on to make 17 before falling to Faulkner, while Cutting took an easy catch off Dhawal Kulkarni at fine leg to end to Karthik’s stay at the crease.

Kevin Pietersen pottered around for 18 deliveries for his 13, falling five deliveries after Duminy, promoted up the order, had fallen to Pravin Tambe. Delhi were reeling at 49 for four in eight overs, and it seemed like they had given up already. Only Tiwary hung around to ensure that Delhi batted out their quota of overs.

With this win, Rajasthan gained two crucial points and further improved their chances of sealing a play-off berth.

sports@thenational.ae

Disha Shetty is a sub editor with Wisden India. You can follow them on Twitter at wisdenindia

Follow us on Twitter at SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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