Royals return home with rain-hit victory
Rajasthan Royals 153 for 5 in 17.5 overs (Rahane 45, Samson 37, Nadeem 2-34) beat Delhi Daredevils 60 for 4 in six overs (Pant 20, Morris 17*) by 10 runs via DLS method. Rajasthan Royals returned to their fortress in Jaipur to rain, but managed to squeeze out a win by stifling Delhi Daredevils in a six-over chase. Chasing 71, Daredevils finished on 60 for 4 in damp conditions at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and lost their seventh game in a row to Royals. After Royals batted 17.5 overs for their 153, after which rain halted play for more than two hours, Daredevils came out to bat at nearly midnight. Ben Laughlin, who played a key role in Adelaide Strikers’ BBL triumph in February, took two wickets in two stellar overs for Royals, denying Daredevils any momentum whatsoever in an innings in which they needed to hit from the onset. The first Laughlin over cost just five runs, leaving Daredevils with 42 to get off three. The wicket of Glenn Maxwell in the following over effectively ended the contest.
Maxwell, however, had not been a significant threat either. Having landed in India on Monday, he struggled to connect with most of his swings as he opened the chase. He was denied room as both the spinner K Gowtham and seamer Dhawal Kulkarni hit the blockhole. Rishabh Pant, promoted to No. 3, was denied pace on the ball at the other end. This increased the pressure after Colin Munro ran himself out without facing a ball. The first two Powerplay overs fetched just 15, leaving Daredevils with too much to do in the last four. Earlier in the evening, unusual summer rains that started four hours before the match abated to allow an on-time start. Ajinkya Rahane began the Royals innings by getting involved in another run-out: for the second game in a row, the Australian D’Arcy Short was dismissed by a direct hit. Two overs later, the decision to promote Ben Stokes to No. 3 failed, when Trent Boult had him caught behind with one that jagged away off the pitch to square up the left-hand batsman. At 28 for 2, Royals were in a little trouble.
Sanju Samson had laced his second delivery to the point boundary and he followed up with an incredible short-arm jab over midwicket for six off Boult to ease the pressure. His surge allowed Rahane to play himself in and the Royals captain began to step on it by hitting Mohammed Shami for back-to-back fours in the 13th over. Buttler too began like a bullet train, before a decision to hop across his stumps and scoop Shami over fine leg cost him his wicket. That was when it began to rain, with Royals 153 for 5, and play was halted for more than two hours. The revised D/L target of 71 meant that Daredevils could afford few slip-ups in the chase, but they never really got going.