IPL 2019 46th Match – Delhi Capitals smashed 187 and makes playoffs

Delhi Capitals 187 for 5 (Iyer 52, Dhawan 50, Rutherford 28*, Chahal 2-41) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 7 (Parthiv 39, Stoinis 32*, Gurkeerat 27, Mishra 2-29, Rabada 2-31) by 16 runs. Delhi Capitals vaulted to the top of the IPL points table with a 16-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at home, the win putting them in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They had star performers all around, starting with half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer, then a good finishing job from Sherfane Rutherford and Axar Patel, and finally a clinical bowling performance led by Amit Mishra and Kagiso Rabada. Mishra took two wickets in the crucial 13th over, and Rabada was excellent in the death overs – not to forget Ishant Sharma’s four-run 19th over – to leave Royal Challengers with no chance of pulling out a fourth successive win in their late-season resurgence.

Dhawan and Iyer struck the fifties, lasting exactly 37 balls each. They struck seven fours and five sixes between them, as they added 68 runs for the second wicket that put Capitals in a position to push towards a big total. Dhawan mostly got his boundaries on the on-side, apart from hitting a four and a six through the covers and long-off. All five of Iyer’s boundaries – the two fours and three sixes – came through midwicket, while he found plenty of ones and twos on the leg-side too.

But once Dhawan and Iyer fell within three overs of each other, Capitals slowed down significantly. In between their dismissals in the 13th and 16th overs, Rishabh Pant also fell for seven off as many balls, which left the rest of the batting with a lot to do to get close to the 200-run mark. Colin Ingram fell for 11 too, to make it tougher, but Rutherford and Axar added 46 runs in the last 3.1 overs to get them to a score that eventually proved good enough. Rutherford struck three sixes and a four in his unbeaten 13-ball 28, while Patel struck three fours in his unbeaten 16.

Rahul Tewatia, fielding as a substitute, dropped Shivam Dube at a crucial juncture in the game, in the ninth over. That was, however, just one blip in an outstanding catching performance from the Capitals players on the day. The first was from Axar, who plucked Parthiv’s crunched cut out of thin air at the point in the sixth over. Rutherford then took a straightforward – though hard-hit – catch off a Kohli pull at the deep soon after, the real stunners were to follow. Axar again, away at deep midwicket, made good ground, caught the ball, and did a neat skip to avoid the boards to send AB de Villiers back, and Shikhar Dhawan pulled off a cool, running catch for Dube’s dismissal.

The what-a-catch moments, though, belonged to Pant. First, when he hared away towards square-leg and threw in the dive to just about pouch Heinrich Klaasen. And then, in the penultimate over, when he dived and flung out his right hand to grab the chance off Gurkeerat Singh’s flash. Parthiv Patel once again provided Royal Challengers with a fast start, hitting seven fours and a six in his 20-ball 39, as he added 63 with Virat Kohli in the opening stand. But once Axar caught Parthiv smartly at point off Rabada, Royal Challengers slowly slipped downwards.

Kohli and AB de Villiers both fell to catches in the deep trying to pull half-trackers from Axar and Rutherford respectively, before Heinrich Klaasen, playing only his second IPL game of the season, was brilliantly caught by Pant in the 13th over. After Klaasen’s attempted scoop hit his helmet and lobbed away from the wicketkeeper, Pant ran hard to his left and dived to complete the catch at full stretch. Shivam Dube’s departure later in the same over added to Royal Challengers’ woes, as the equation went up to 77 from seven.

Gurkeerat Singh hitting Ishant for two fours and a six in the 17th over certainly gave Royal Challengers some hope, with the equation down from 52 off 24 to a very gettable 36 from 18. But Rabada conceded just six runs in the following over and Ishant, desperate to have another go and prove a point, then went for four in the penultimate over, before Rabada shut down the chase with another efficient final over in which he gave away just nine runs.