NEW DELHI: Captain Shreyas Iyer and stumper Rishabh Pant struck rollicking half centuries to keep Delhi Daredevils’ play-off hopes alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after the hosts pipped Rajasthan Royals by four runs by D/L method in a rain-truncated clash at the Ferozshah Kotla yesterday.
With sporadic rain affecting the proceedings in the first innings, Rajasthan’s target was curtailed to 151 from 12 overs and the visitors were very much in the chase, thanks to a stroke-filled 26-ball 67 from opener Jos Buttler.
Pacer Trent Boult pulled back things for the home side with a couple of wickets and a brilliant last over where he defended 15 runs as Delhi rose one spot to the No 7 in the points table.
Buttler began the chase, clobbering the Delhi bowlers mercilessly all over the park to bring up Rajasthan’s 50 in just 19 balls in the company of D’Arcy Short (44 off 24), who played the perfect second fiddle to the Englishman. Buttler meted out special treatment to young pacer Avesh Khan, smashing him thrice over the boundary as he got to his individual 50 off just 18 deliveries as the home crowd began to lose hopes of a win.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, however, brought the smiles back to the fans, who stayed well past midnight braving the heavy rain, by getting Buttler stumped with a top spinner.
Boult then jolted the visitors with the quick wickets of Sanju Samson (3) and Ben Stokes (1) even as Glenn Maxwell ended Short’s resistance to reduce Rajasthan to 118/4.
With 33 needed off 14 balls, Krishnappa Gowtham (18 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (9) failed to take the visitors home in what turned out to be a nail-biting affair towards the end.
Earlier, Pant (69 off 29 balls; 4×7, 6×5) and Iyer (50 off 35; 4×3, 6×3) capitalised on a brilliant start by teenaged sensation Prithvi Shaw (47 off 25 balls; 4×4, 6×4) as Delhi overcame the early loss of opener Colin Munro in the opening over. After heavy rain delayed the start of play by one and a half hours, resulting in the match being reduced to 18 overs a side, pacer Dhawal Kulkarni provided the visitors a perfect start with the wicket of the Kiwi, caught behind on a duck.
Rajasthan’s ploy of opting to field after winning the toss, was however soon dismissed by the 18-year-old Prithvi, who combined with his skipper to smoke 73 runs for the second wicket in mere 40 balls.
Iyer soon joined the party, belting leg-spinner leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal for two consecutive sixes even after Prithvi fell to a simple caught and bowled effort from the same bowler.