Sharjah: Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith said they let Delhi Capitals off the hook by conceding an extra 15-20 runs in their Indian Premier League match on a slow Sharjah pitch.
Delhi posted 184 for eight, the lowest first innings total at the ground this season, riding on Shimron Hetmyer's 24-ball 45 and 39 off 30 balls from Marcus Stoinis on Friday.
Kagiso Rabada (3/35) then picked three wickets, while Stoinis (2/17) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/22) snared two wickets each as Delhi dismissed Rajasthan for 138 in 19.4 overs to secure their fifth win in six matches by 46 runs.
"I think the wicket did slow down a bit, probably it was not that good as it was in our first two games, but having said that, we probably let them off the hook in the first innings, we probably let them get 10-15 too many," Smith said.
Delhi Capitals' Harshal Patel agreed with the Australian run-machine at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Smith added, "During the chase, we lost wickets again, I got out, we just kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, and chasing 180 odd on a wicket that has slowed up is not easy.
"We always knew 180 would be a tough chase, we needed to string together partnerships but we were not able to do that," Smith said.
Rahul Tewatia (38) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (34) were the only substantial contributors for Rajasthan.
Speaking about his team's improved fielding, Smith said: "Fielding has been disappointing so far throughout this tournament, so it was pleasing to see a couple of good catches and pull off two run-outs, it was nice to see that it has stepped up a little bit."
Talking about Tewatia, the RR captain said: "Rahul Tewatia bowled really well, he summed up the conditions nicely, he was able to read the batsmen, he did a terrific job with the ball, he hit a few in the middle with the bat in hand, he is a valuable player for us."
Rajasthan are currently placed at the seventh place in the points standings with just four points from six games. The side has suffered four successive defeats and the Smith-led team will next take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
"There are plenty of areas that we need to work on, our batting has not been good enough, our top-three have not scored big runs in the last three games and that has been disappointing.
"There is some execution stuff with the ball as well, it is not an easy game, after all, we are doing something wrong and that is hurting us," Smith said.
Delhi Capitals grabbed the top spot with this win.
"When Hetmyer and I were batting, we were thinking to score somewhere around 165-170 because this was a considerably slower wicket than we had played on earlier.
"...The ball was definitely stopping, this Sharjah wicket was considerably different so a total around 170 was competitive," said Patel.
"I think we bat pretty deep, we have Axar at eight and Ashwin at nine, and Rabada can hit a few sixes as well we have a deep batting lineup, anytime after the 16th over, it is about hitting one-two boundaries every over," he added.
Asked about the performance of the DC's spinners, Patel said: "Both Ashwin and Axar are smart spinners, they know their game and how to fox the batsmen. They know how to bowl on these pitches, both are experienced enough and they had their different plans, whatever plans they had, it worked out for them."
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CSKi skipper Shoni has also praised DC for bowling well and exploiting the big boundaries to good effect.
Bharat, who has had a good IPL with the bat, smashed 78 not out off 52 balls as he kept calm under pressure and lofted Avesh for a straight six with five needed off the last delivery to chase down DC's target of 165.
Rabada, who was the tournament's highest wicket taker last edition, has struggled to replicate the terrific form in the second leg of the ongoing season.