Nail biting finish by Rajasthan, win by 3 wickets

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Delhi Daredevils 184/3 (20 overs)
Rajasthan Royals 186/7 (20 overs)

Rajastahan Royals won by 3 wickets.

Man of the match: Deepak Hooda

New Delhi: Rajathan Royals beat Delhi Daredevils in a nail-biting encounter at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Young Deepak Hooda lead the run chase with a superlative fifty, while Imran Tahir was the pick of the bowlers for DD.

Yet another IPL match was decided by sloppy fielding. Ajinkya Rahane’s dropping of Angelo Mathews allowed Delhi Daredevils to post 184 when they looked like they might waste a good start, but Daredevils went a step further by missing youngster Deepak Hooda twice in two overs. The youngest player in this IPL took them apart with four powerful sixes in his 25-ball 54, but when he fell Rajasthan Royals still needed 19 off 11. Imran Tahir, as did Amit Mishra, kept Daredevils alive with his variations, but Chris Morris and Tim Southee scored the required 12 off the last over to make it 11 defeats in a row for Daredevils, the joint-longest losing streak in IPL.

Royals shouldn’t have been chasing this big a total after their spinners dragged Daredevils back from a good start. Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer both scored 40s, but Pravin Tambe and that man Hooda again applied the brakes with seven overs from 38 runs and one wicket. However, as it has been happening far too often for a league that pretends to boast superlative fielding, the decisive moments in this match too were pieces of ordinary fielding. Angelo Mathews was 5 off 4 when he hit James Faulkner straight down long-on’s throat. JP Duminy at the other end was struggling, Yuvraj Singh had got out seven balls ago, and at 145 for 3 in the 18th over Daredevils were threatening to post an underwhelming total. Rahane dropped him, and Mathews went on to score 27 off 14 that took Daredevils to 184, a score that should have ideally been too far for Royals after the way the host spinners performed.

Amit Mishra struck in his first two overs, sending back Steven Smith and Karun Nair, and Imran Tahir bowled the big overs to keep bringing Daredevils back with four wickets. However, at 107 for 4 in the 14th over, a third spinner should have played a part in another wicket. Yuvraj bowled three tight balls, the fourth produced indecision in the running, but Yuvraj failed to collect a throw right beside the stump. Had he broken the wicket coolly Hooda would have been out for 23 off 13.

In the next over, with the asking rate having scores two per ball, Hooda was forced to take risks. He did so in his own unique way. With Jaydev Unadkat looking to bowl Yorkers outside off, Hooda kept shuffling across and took his back foot behind the line of the stumps to try to convert those into half-volleys. But so badly was Unadkat missing his yorkers Hooda slogged two low full tosses for sixes. The second of those should have been caught at deep midwicket, but Manoj Tiwary just parried it over.

This was when Tahir made Daredevils believe, beating Rahane with a wrong’un and hitting his stumps. Immediately Hooda snatched the advantage back with a big six over long-on. With 36 required off the last three, Daredevils went to their two big bowlers first: Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tahir. In the 18th Coulter-Nile served a half-volley, and generally kept bowling outside leg from round the wicket. Three boundaries came off the over, two off edges, but now only 19 were required off the last two.

Tahir once again dragged Daredevils back. First Hooda hit a long hop straight down long-on’s throat, and then Faulkner failed to read a wrong’un. In between, though, Morris slog-swept him for a six, and we were back to two a ball in the last over.

Daredevils went to international experience of Mathews ahead of Unadkat, but Mathews bowled the same angle when he decided to go round the wicket. The fourth ball of the over was a leg-side full toss, which Morris helped away fine of short fine leg. Yet a good fifth ball meant Tim Southee, known for his sixes, needed two off the last ball. The strategy now left a bit to be desired. Mathews bowled from round the wicket, and despite the angle taking the ball away he had no protection deep on the off side.

With that field Mathews had to bowl a leg-stump yorker, but he bowled an off-stump half-volley, which Southee drove wide of long-off to spark wild celebrations in the Royals camp.

‘Luck’. This is not the thing that IPL franchise Delhi has. So this is the 11th consecutive loss for them.

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