Bengaluru: Rishabh Pant may have won hearts all over after putting personal tragedy behind to bring up a valiant half-century, but it wasn't enough to get Delhi Daredevils off to a winning start as they lost their opening game to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Chasing 158 for a win, Delhi ended at 142 for 9 and young Pant's 57 off 36 balls went in vain as RCB bounced back from their defeat against defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the tournament opener on 5 April.
Delhi lost wickets at regular intervals in the light of some tight bowling from RCB, and none of their specialist batsmen did stay for long to give company to Pant. The shot selection of most of the Delhi batsmen left a lot to be desired.
Delhi though were in the hunt till the closing stages of the match as they needed 37 from the final four overs and 21 from the final two but Amit Mishra consumed a lot of deliveries without adding much to the scoreboard. That added pressure to Pant who was out in the final over, and with it Delhi ended at 142 for 9 to lose their first match of the tournament.
Pawan Negi did the trick as he took two wickets in the final over, including that of Pant to end the Delhi innings.
Delhi made a steady start in their run chase with Sam Billings and Aditya Tare getting the runs without taking too many risks. But RCB bowlers struck two quick wickets in the space of six deliveries to bring their side into the match.
Tare (18) was beaten for pace by a good length delivery from Tymal Mills as his off-stump went cartwheeling in the fifth over.
Then, Karun Nair (4), who recently played against Australia in the Test series, lasted for just three balls as he was clean-bowled by a gem of a delivery from Stanlake which went through his defences and hit the off-stump.
Billings hit a six off a reverse sweep in the seventh over bowled by Yuzvender Chahal but fell in the next over off Iqbal Abdulla as Delhi were reduced to 55 for 3.
Delhi reached 79 for 3 at the halfway mark, needing another 79 from the remaining 10 overs. Sanju Samson's shot selection was left a lot to be desired as he fell in the 11th over and Delhi found themselves in trouble.
Chris Morris fell in the final ball of the 13th over and Delhi needed 51 from 42 balls with five wickets in hand.
It was anybody's game still with Delhi needing 37 from the final four overs. RCB captain Shane Watson conceded just five runs and also got the wicket of Pat Cummins (6) in the 17th over to tilt the game in favour of RCB.
In a tense tussle, Pant hit a six off Tymal Mills but Delhi still needed 21 from the final two overs. Amit Mishra consumed a lot of deliveries and that piled pressure on Pant who was out in the final over to end Delhi's hopes.
Feel bad for Pant. He did everything right, only for the guy at the other end to play badly. This loss (looks inevitable now) is on Mishra
— Chinmay Bhogle (@chinmaybhogle) April 8, 2017
Earlier, Jadhav played a lone hand with a brilliant 69 off just 37 balls as RCB scored 157 for 8.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, RCB began on a brisk pace but lost two quick wickets early on and that put brakes on their scoring rate.
Jadhav then produced an excellent innings as he shifted gears from being watchful to hitting a flurry of big shots to the huge cheers of home supporters.
But once Delhi captain Zaheer Khan ended Jadhav's innings in the 17th over, RCB could add just 15 runs off the remaining three overs with Morris picking up two more wickets to restrict RCB to a modest total.
Jadhav hit five fours and as many sixes in his 37-ball knock. None of the other RCB batsmen could contribute much with Watson's 24 being the next highest.
For Delhi, Morris took three wickets for 21 runs while Zaheer grabbed two wickets from 31 as Delhi bowlers produced a disciplined show.
RCB lost two quick wickets early on with Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh getting out cheaply as the home side were reduced to 41 for 2 in sixth over. Gayle, who needed 31 runs to become the first player to score 10,000 runs in T20 cricket before today's match, was dismissed by Morris for just six.
One-down Mandeep (12) did not last long as he faced just 10 balls before he fell to Pat Cummins who generated a lot of pace from the Chinnaswamy stadium to trouble the RCB batsmen.
The two early wickets slowed down the pace of scoring but RCB's woes compounded after Watson was out stumped off the bowling of Shahbaz Nadeem.
Watson (24 off 24 balls), who was batting cautiously after the two early wickets, was done in by the extra bounce and a bit of turn and he was completely beaten. Rishabh Pant collected the ball outside off and did the rest.
RCB were 61 for 3 at the halfway stage but Jadhav decided to score some quick runs as he hit Amit Mishra for two fours and as many sixes to take 24 runs from the 13th over.
Jadhav continued with a four and six off Carlos Brathwaite to add another 16 in the next over as RCB scored 48 runs in three overs. But once he was out, RCB could not add too many runs.
With inputs from PTI