Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 171/5 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 75*, Rajat Patidar 31; Ishant Sharma 1-26) beat Delhi Capitals 170/4 in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant 58*, Shimron Hetmyer 53*; Harshal Patel 2-37) by 1 run
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals played out a thriller at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad that the former eventually won by just a run. After electing to bowl first, the Delhi side had RCB on the mat but yet another blistering knock from AB de Villiers meant that the side posted 171 on the board. Courtesy a heavy sand storm, any chance of dew was removed, which aided the RCB bowlers, who were on the mark for most parts of the Delhi innings. A number of tactical blunders from Delhi once again proved to haunt them, though they are still comfortably placed on third position. RCB have gone on top of the table with the win and have 10 points from 6 matches.
Here are the talking points from the match between the Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Why will Delhi give the final over to Marcus Stoinis?
Amit Mishra, who bowled 3 overs for 27 runs for a wicket, did not complete his quota of overs while the final over of the innings was given to Marcus Stoinis. The Australian, up against AB de Villiers, erred in his line and lengths and the result was that the South African took him apart for 23 runs in the last over, which eventually proved to be the difference in the end. Instead, the skipper should have bowled Amit Mishra in the middle when Rajat Patidar was at the crease, especially as the bowler had picked up a wicket. With the wicket offering assistance to the spinners, the decision to not bowl out Mishra – just like the decision to not bowl out Ravichandran Ashwin a few games ago – was baffling.
AB de Villiers really is Superman
RCB have time and again been saved by the brilliance of AB de Villiers, and the batsman was at it again as he took the side to over 170. Bangalore, however, looked like they would have to settle for a score of 150 when Avesh Khan got the wicket of Virat Kohli off an inside edge that rattled his stumps with Devdutt Padikkal following off the very next ball. Ishant Sharma, playing his first game of the season, sneaked past Padikkal’s defence as RCB looked in trouble. Though Rajat Patidar and Glenn Maxwell tried to rebuild the innings, Amit Mishra sent back the Australian while Patidar was picked up by Axar Patel to pile on the troubles.
However, all is not lost till de Villiers is at the crease and he displayed his might yet again as the last five overs of the innings belonged to just one player. De Villiers was on 28 off 22 balls when Kagiso Rabada was introduced into the attack. The batsman eked out crucial fours off him and then unleashed himself on Stoinis to end with five huge sixes. He scored 75 off just 42 balls at a strike rate of nearing 179, as RCB were rescued by Superman yet again.
Mohammad Siraj has perfected those yorkers
Virat Kohli turned to Mohammad Siraj to bowl the last over when 14 runs were needed. Siraj, once often trolled for his knack of leaking runs in the death, has vastly worked on his game and his yorkers. He bowled a brilliant spell to Andre Russell against Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this Indian Premier League, and was on the mark against Delhi as well, as he kept his nerves to hand his side their fifth win. Though Siraj was helped by the fact that Rishabh Pant – who struggled throughout the match to time his shots – was on strike for most parts of the 20th over with big hitting Shimron Hetmyer facing just one ball – he was on the mark. The first ball was a low full toss that fetched one run, while the second ball was a perfect yorker that yielded just one run as well.
The third ball was a full length ball that was hit back to the bowler as the equation reduced to 12 off 3 balls. Though Pant managed to send the next two balls for a four, Siraj displayed his maturity as he bowled a full toss that was targeted wide away from the batter when 6 was needed off the final ball. Pant sent the delivery for a four but he failed to take his team over the line in what was an agonizing game for him.
Shimron Hetmyer should bat at number three for Delhi Capitals
Steve Smith yet again had a bad day at the office, and with West Indian Shimron Hetmyer firing on all cylinders, the question remains if Smith should be axed with Hetmyer at three. The Delhi Capitals could boost their bowling instead, with Anrich Nortje coming into the XI, which will lend support to Kagiso Rabada who has been below par this season.
Hetmyer was the lone man who put up a fight on the night for Delhi, and almost looked like he would take the team home. He smashed a six and a four off consecutive balls against Siraj, and was given a lifeline in the next over when Devdutt Padikkal dropped him. He took full advantage of his second chance as he cleared the rope thrice with Delhi needing 46 off the last three overs. His three sixes brought the equation down to 25 off the final two overs. Hetmyer eventually got his 50 of 23 balls, but he failed to get a major part of the strike in the last over as his efforts went in vain.