An unbeaten 36-ball 78 from Rishabh Pant overshadowed Ajinkya Rahane's second IPL hundred as Delhi Capitals (DC) consolidated their position in the top four of the points table with a win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Monday. After Rahane made a brilliant hundred to take Rajasthan to 191 in the first innings, Shikhar Dhawan and Pant made half-centuries to help Delhi gun down the total with four balls to spare.
Here are best moments from the match.
Ishant's generosity towards Rahane and the immediate cash-in
Rahane had started off at run-a-ball in one of his favourite grounds against one of his favourite opponents, but Ishant Sharma decided to show some generosity to the batsman in the fifth over. Rahane moved across his stumps to try and sweep Axar Patel and miscued to short fine leg where Ishant was stationed. The lanky seamer, though, dropped the catch to let the opener off the hook.
Rahane celebrated the reprieve by charging down the track next ball and dumping Axar into the sightscreen. This was followed by another sweep that went through fine leg for four. Rahane went on to compile his second IPL hundred in 58 balls and took Rajasthan to 191 in their quota of overs, carrying the bat through the innings.
Ashton Turner's Olympic ducks
After a match-winning knock for Australia against India last month, Ashton Turner has seen his Indian adventure nosedive in April after he recorded his third consecutive golden duck in the IPL.
Yes, you read that right. Turner is yet to score a single run in the IPL despite playing three matches and hasn't faced more than one ball in any of his innings.
On Monday, Turner was befuddled by Ishant's slower ball and gifted a catch to extra cover to depart for a duck off the first ball he faced.
Turner had made his IPL debut in Mohali on the very surface he had blitzed India in the ODI series but fell looking to take on Murugan Ashwin off the first ball he faced. Against Mumbai Indians, Turner was once again dismissed for a first-ball duck with Bumrah trapped him in front with a searing yorker.
After his third duck against Delhi Capitals on Monday, Turner now has five consecutive ducks in the format considering he had recorded a duck in his last Big Bash League game and first T20I against India in February. He did not bat in the second T20I of the series, but on the last five occasions he has walked out to bat in T20s, Turner has made ducks which happens to be a world record.
Rahane's scoop for six
Stripped off captaincy after a depressing start to the season for Rajasthan Royals (RR), Ajinkya Rahane struck a brilliant century on Monday to shut his critics down. The main criticism levied against Rahane was his strike rate which was in the low 130s. The inability to rotate the strike and tendency to occupy the crease for long meant that the Rajasthan opener was preventing a much-needed early intervention from the middle-order big hitters.
The fact that he replaced Rahul Tripathi at the top in the last game despite the youngster scoring a half-century in his last match while opening the innings did not go down well with most. But against Delhi Capitals, Rahane showed he has every shot in the repertoire and the ability to up the ante when needed.
His entertaining hundred was full of some pristine shots all around the wicket but the most remarkable of them was perhaps a scoop shot for six off Chris Morris. In the 13th over of the innings, Morris dished out a length ball on the stumps. Rahane premeditated a shot behind the stumps and moved across the wicket to use Morris’ pace to scoop over fine leg for a maximum.
The trademark Pant pull shot and a final flourish
Rishabh Pant's pyrotechnics at the crease has become a familiar sight in the IPL. From his one-handed hoicks to his shots over fine leg that are executed while rolling over at the crease, Pant has redefined T20 batting with a rare mix of power, flair and 360-degree batting.
In the 15th over of the innings, he executed a ridiculous pull shot while falling at the wicket. The wicket-keeper batsman went down on his knees against Jaydev Unadkat’s back of a length delivery and pulled it one-handed from that position through fine leg for a boundary even though he tumbled down while attempting the shot.
Pant completed his half-century and went on to silence his critics who have been pointing at his inefficiency in finishing off run chases. The southpaw slammed two sixes — one each in the penultimate and final over — to take Delhi home with four balls to spare.
The twin fielding mishap
A comedy of errors in the field allowed Delhi Capitals to sneak three runs in the penultimate over. Jofra Archer dished out a slow bumper outside off-stump that Pant looked to smash through mid-wicket sans any timing. The ball ballooned up but landed safely at mid-wicket with Stuart Binny from the deep rushing in.
Binny, however, slipped at the last moment and the ball ricocheted off him to square leg. Ben Stokes gave the ball a chase and stopped it with a slide but just as he was about to throw the ball, it slipped out of his hands and allowed the batsmen to take an extra run. The high dew in the ground contributed to the fielding errors and Delhi were gifted some valuable runs in the final scramble.
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Harbhajan also says young opener Shubman Gill must get back to his groove after a cheap run against England and in the IPL at home since a good start is paramount in seam and swing-friendly conditions in England.
Unadkat has played one Test, seven ODIs and 10 T20s and last played for India in 2018.
It was the first time the players mixed with their teammates on the ground after being allowed to run in the gymnasium and the main playing field at different time slots on completion of the third day of their hard quarantine in the UK.