IPL 2020: We always know Rabada and Nortje will get the job done, says Shikhar Dhawan
Capitals registered a thrilling 13-run victory over Rajasthan Royals on the back of an incredible death overs bowling by their pace attack comprising Rabada, Nortje, and rookie Tushar Deshpande.
Dubai: Opener Shikhar Dhawan says his teammates at Delhi Capitals know it will be a job well done whenever the ball is handed to the lethal pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.
In the IPL on Wednesday, the Capitals registered a thrilling 13-run victory over Rajasthan Royals on the back of an incredible death overs bowling by their pace attack comprising Rabada, Nortje and rookie Tushar Deshpande.
Nortje (2/33) was breathtakingly fast, bowling in the mid 150 kmph. He gave away just four runs and took a wicket in the 18th over and Rabada (1/28) followed that up with a three-run over for a wicket.
"Nortje and Rabada are great bowlers, Rabada is a legend, and when they both bowl as a partnership, it is lethal," Dhawan, who took over the captaincy duties from an injured Shreyas Iyer, said at the post-match press conference.
"They have been taking early wickets and when we bring them back during the death overs or the middle overs, we know they will do the job.
"We are fortunate to have this class of bowling. The spinners have also been doing their job. The way (Ravichandran) Ashwin has been performing after the injury has been great. Everyone is performing and that is a sign of a good team," he added.
Deshpande (2/37), who was given the ball in the final over, was able to defend 21 runs, restricting Rajasthan Royals to 148/8 on his debut IPL game. Earlier in the innings he had scalped the prized wicket of Ben Stokes.
"Tushar Despande was amazing, especially under such amount of pressure, we got him in and he responded nicely. He got the crucial wicket of Stokes, he kept his cool, he has been working really hard in the nets.
"Even in the last over, he was clear in his plans, really happy to see him do so well and he backed himself," Dhawan said.
Opting to bat, the Capitals posted 161/7 with the help of half centuries by Dhawan (57) and Iyer (53).
"Till 10th over, both the teams were equal and they were right up there in the chase. We talked about getting positive energy going, we knew if we got wickets at the top of the order, then we can come back in the match," Dhawan added.
After struggling to capitalise his starts at the beginning of the tournament, Dhawan scored his second consecutive fifty. He also became the fourth Indian to complete 7500 runs in T20 cricket.
"My mindset was to play positive cricket only, I did not play Archer much as I was in the other end. We knew wickets were getting slower so it was important to score runs in the first six overs, we lost two wickets early but still, we kept the courage and we kept on going."
The Royals' bowlers provided their team with a bright start, giving away just 32 runs in the last five overs. Jofra Archer returned with the best bowling figures as he finished with 3-19.
However, the batsmen once again failed to live up to the billing, losing wickets at regular intervals and spin bowling coach Sairaj Bahutule rued the lack of substantial partnerships.
"Well, I think partnerships were pretty important, the start we got through Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, we did not need to lose these many wickets and especially that run out of Riyan Parag," Bahutule said.
"The most important part was the wicket of Stokes and the run-out was very crucial, we could have probably avoided that and if Sanju stayed at the wicket, we could have taken the game a bit deeper and got these runs," he added.
Skipper Steve Smith has scored in single digits in the last five of the six games. Against the Capitals, he scored just a run from four balls but Bahutule remained confident about the Australian's abilities to strike form.
"I think Smith is a fantastic captain for us, he is a great leader, he had a good start in the tournament, he is a guy who works on his game, I am sure he will make the coming games count and score his runs," he said.