Delhi Capitals bowlers made up for the team's underwhelming display with the bat to hand Rajasthan Royals a 33-run defeat in their Indian Premier League match, here on Saturday. The Capitals bowling unit restricted the Royals to 121 for six after the team put on board 154 for six on the back of Shreyas Iyer's 43 and a late flourish provided by Shimron Hetmyer, who scored 28 runs off 16 balls.
Rajasthan skipper Sanju Samson looked in sublime touch, scoring an unbeaten 70, but with wickets tumbling at regular intervals from the other end, the Royals innings failed to get the momentum it needed. South African pacer Anrich Nortje (2/18) led the Delhi bowlers who performed as a cohesive unit. Avesh Khan (1/29), Kagiso Rabada (1/26), Axar Patel (1/27), Ravichandran Ashwin (1/20) snapped a wicket each. With the win the Capitals returned to the top of the table while the Royals moved down to the sixth spot.
Defending a modest total, pacers Khan and Nortje provided the electric start that the Capitals needed, sending back both openers -- Liam Livingstone (1) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (5) in the first two overs. Skipper Rishabh Pant made a bowling change by bringing in Ashwin and the senior Indian spinner got rid of the dangerous David Miller (7) to leave the Royals tottering at 17 for 3. With the required run rate increasing, Rajasthan needed 107 runs in the last 10 over. Samson and young Mahipal Lomror (19) seemed to be reviving the innings but the ever-reliant Rabada nipped the partnership in the bud.
Riyan Parag (2) and Rahul Tewatia (9) couldn't provide a valuable contribution either. Samson was going strong, hitting boundaries at will but the Delhi bowlers came back strongly. Earlier, the Royals pacers -- led by Mustafizur Rahman (2/22), Chetan Sakariya (2/33) and Kartik Tyagi (1/40) -- shared five wickets while spin all-rounder Rahul Tewatia (1/17) dismissed one batsman. Tyagi, the star of the match against Punjab Kings, drew first blood with his very first delivery in the fourth over, cleaning up Orange Cap holder Shikhar Dhawan (8).
The Delhi opener looked to play a good length delivery but the ball rolled back to hit the timber. Prithvi Shaw (10) soon followed his opening partner back to the dugout, slicing the ball off Sakariya to Liam Livingstone at mid-off. At the end of the powerplay, the Capitals were precariously placed at 36 runs for the loss of two wickets. With spin introduced in the seventh over Shreyas Iyer (43 off 32 balls) and skipper Rishabh Pant (24 off 24 balls) started to repair the damage caused by the loss of the openers.
The duo, who stitched a 62-run partnership, kept the scoreboard ticking, while also hitting the occasional boundaries at the huge Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The stylish Iyer then hit the first maximum of the match over long off in the 10th over off left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (0/34). As the two Delhi batters found their footing, Rahman was brought back into the attack and the move immediately paid dividends as Pant, looking to hook the ball away, ended up getting an under edge.
Samson then showed his skills with gloves to stump Iyer, who failed to stretch his back foot inside the crease as wicket continued to tumble at regular intervals. Shimron Hetmyer, who was striking the ball well, then upped the ante, hitting three boundaries off Tyagi to plunder 16 runs in the 16th over. The big-hitting West Indian, who hit five fours, scored a brisk 28 off 16 balls.