Led by a new skipper Steven Smith, Rajasthan Royals completed their third win of the season as they outclassed Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Chasing 162 to win, Smith and youngster, Riyan Parag, made telling contributions to take Rajasthan home.
In Delhi, Kings XI Punjab posted 163 after a good show from Delhi Capitals' bowlers on a slow wicket. Shreyas Iyer then struck a brilliant unbeaten half-century to take Delhi past the finish line in the final over. Here are the best moments from the two Saturday matches.
Jofra Archer drops three
After misjudging a catch in the deep the other day and conceding a six in the process, Archer had another terrible day in the outfield on Saturday.
In the third over of the innings, Shreyas Gopal, who had just dismissed Rohit Sharma, forced de Kock into playing a reckless shot down the ground. The resultant miscue went to long-on where Archer rushed in from the deep but shelled the catch. On 6 at the time, de Kock went on to make 65.
The dropped catch cost Rajasthan 59 runs.
In the 17th over, bowled by Jaydev Unadkat, Hardik Pandya went for a heave off the left-arm seamer but did not time the shot well enough. Archer got underneath the ball at long-on but once again couldn't hold on. Pandya has been brilliant in the death overs for Mumbai this season and letting him off the hook was nearly game-changing. Hardik was on two at the time and went on to make 23 off 15 balls.
Unadkat nearly had Hardik Pandya again in the penultimate over. The Mumbai all-rounder mistimed his swipe across the line on the leg side and yet again the ball followed Archer at long-on who fluffed once again.
Steven Smith makes a comeback as captain and scores a fifty
Rajasthan Royals made a massive mid-season move when they declared Steven Smith as their new captain for the remainder of the season. The Australian took over from Ajinkya Rahane who had struggled with his leadership and was patchy with his form.
“Ajinkya [Rahane] has done a terrific job over the last year and a half. The owners thought there should be a change in the leadership, and he'll be part of the leadership group as well,” Steven Smith had said at the toss at Jaipur.
Having tasted success with Rising Pune Supergiant by taking them to the finals of the season in IPL 2017, Smith isn't averse to the leadership role in the IPL and seemed to be enjoying the additional responsibility. He strode out to bat at No 3 and anchored the chase, remaining unbeaten on 59 in 48 balls with five fours and a six.
Smith, who was dropped from the side in the last match after an ordinary start to the season, bounced back hard to make a statement of intent with a match-winning knock. And he was deservedly named the Man of the Match.
Hardik is tamed
Hardik Pandya has been in scintillating form this IPL. By his own admission, he has been timing the ball well and in eight of the nine innings he had batted before Saturday, the Baroda all-rounder had made double-digit scores at strike rates above 100. In four out of nine of these matches, the all-rounder had stayed till the end while striking at 200 or more.
With the Mumbai top order having a set platform, Rajasthan had to stop Hardik and Pollard in the final few overs, a task most teams have failed at this season. But the Men in Pink had a clear plan. They had saved three of Jofra Archer's overs for the death and also had Jaydev Unadkat bowling on the batsman's hips, forcing him to hit across the line to the longer boundary.
Archer varied his pace cleverly and pushed in the odd bouncer while Unadkat, expensive so far this season, tempted Pandya with back of a length deliveries. The Mumbai all-rounder still made 23 off 15 balls but Unadkat would have had him earlier had Archer held on to at least one of the two catches that came his way at long-on. Mumbai's final flourish never arrived and it eventually proved to be the difference between the sides.
The Rahul vs Lamichhane battle
Sandeep Lamichhane returned to Delhi's starting XI and was welcomed by the in-form KL Rahul with a one-handed six. The Nepal spinner bowled a loopy leg-break in Rahul's arc and the Kings XI opener gave himself room and hit the ball down the ground for six with one hand. It seemed as if he was done in by the flight but he made good adjustment and when on with his followthrough.
Next ball was a tad shorter and more on the stumps, but Rahul swept it away, again with one hand, through square leg for a four. The strong bottom hand came into play which generated enough power for the ball to reach the fence.
Lamichhane, though, came back strong and produced a lovely leg spinner to beat Rahul's defence and have him stumped. Prodding forward, the Kings XI opener lost balance and was beaten by the away turn. Rishabh Pant completed a quick stumping to give Delhi an important breakthrough. Lamichhane grabbed two more wickets and finished with 3/40 in his four-over spell.
The Ingram-Axar relay catch
The Universe Boss appeared to be in the mood at Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday. Despite losing partners at the other end, Gayle had raced to 69 in 36 balls with five sixes, including three against Amit Mishra. He slog-swept Lamichhane for a six in the first ball of the 13th over and went for one more as he tried to pull one off a wrong 'un next ball.
He, however, miscued the hit to deep mid-wicket where Colin Ingram pouched a very good overhead catch but realising that he was losing balance and falling over, Ingram showed tremendous presence of mind, searched for the nearest fielder, waited and threw the ball far enough to Axar Patel running in from long-on before crossing the ropes. Axar completed a comfortable catch and replays revealed that Ingram had done a brilliant job of not touching the ropes while holding and passing on the ball.
Dhawan's hilarious reply to Ashwin's Mankad warning
In the 13th over of the Delhi innings, Ravichandran Ashwin threatened to run Shikhar Dhawan out at the non-striker's end in his delivery stride. The Delhi opener was still well within his crease when Ashwin stopped his run-up half-way through almost as though to give him a warning.
Dhawan had his bat well grounded and did a full stretch going down on one knee at the non-striker's end as Ashwin went back to his mark. When the off-spinner trundled in again, Dhawan started shuffling around in the crease and made bizarre movements as if to threaten Ashwin that he was leaving the crease with his bat grounded behind the crease all the while. It might not have pleased Ashwin but it did entertain the Kotla crowd.
WATCH: Shikhar's dance moves on the crease
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