Rajasthan Royals (RR) registered their first win of the IPL 2021 season following a thrilling chase in the last over against the Delhi Capitals (DC) on Thursday. The Wankhede Stadium is generally not known for low-scoring thrillers, but bowlers from both sides dominated in this exciting contest.
After thumping three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their first game, DC looked like the team to beat this season. Newly-appointed skipper Rishabh Pant was impressive in his first game at the helm.
RR, on the other hand, were coming on the back of a heartbreaking loss against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) and were not the favorites to win this one. However, such is the unpredictability of the IPL that on any given day, any team has the capability to win against all odds.
On that note, let's have a look at 3 reasons why RR were victorious against a strong DC side.
#3 RR's Jaydev Unadkat too hot to handle for DC's top order
One of the changes that RR made to their side coming into the game was the inclusion of Saurashtra pacer Jaydev Unadkat as another left-arm option. Unadkat is someone who has been backed by the franchise for quite some time.
There have been instances where the 29-year-old has leaked runs and thus, his place in the RR playing XI has always been under the scanner. However, on this occasion, Unadkat came out as a much better bowler and caught the DC batsmen by surprise.
Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan gave DC a brilliant start against CSK and it was important for RR to send them packing early. This was taken care of by the left-arm pacer as he made the new ball talk and caused problems for both openers.
Shaw tried to work the ball outside off-stump towards the leg-side but only got a leading edge and was caught at point. Dhawan tried to scoop Unadkat's swinging ball but was undone by a terrific catch from Sanju Samson.
Unadkat is known for his variations and Ajinkya Rahane didn't see it coming against a new ball that was swinging. The left-armer's slower ball deceived Rahane as he was dismissed through a simple caught and bowled.
DC couldn't recover from this early setback and they posted just 147-8 in their 20 overs. Unadkat was the pick of the bowlers for his figures of 3-15.
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#2 Rishabh Pant's untimely run-out
Rishabh Pant has been in sensational form in international cricket for the past 3-4 months. DC were in deep trouble at 37-4 and it was up to their skipper to stabilize their innings and take them to a competitive score.
Pant walked out to bat and looked positive in his strokeplay despite the RR bowlers being on top. Slowly but steadily, he formed a partnership with debutant Lalit Yadav and seemed to bring the DC innings back on track.
Bringing up his fifty in quick time, the duo also added a half-century stand for the fifth wicket. This is where things again took a turn for the worse for DC. Pant tried to take a quick single off Riyan Parag's bowling, but the youngster collected the ball and found Pant short of the crease through a direct hit at the non-striker's end.
Barring Pant, no one in DC's top order had a strike-rate of more than 100. This goes a long way in showing just how competitive DC's score could have been had Pant stayed until the end.
#1 Failure to stop Chris Morris' blitzkrieg
Knowing that the new ball would help their bowlers too, DC came out all guns blazing and had RR in deep trouble at 42-5. David Miller's 62 off 43 balls helped RR get back into the chase and until the time the southpaw was at the crease, RR had their noses in front.
However, Morris departed and that saw all-rounder Chris Morris come to the crease. There was debate over whether Morris could deliver given the pressure of his hefty INR 16.25 crore pricetag.
The 33-year-old failed to connect with the few deliveries that he faced in the first game where RR suffered a close defeat. Thus, DC would have considered themselves favorites to take the two points.
Morris struggled for the first few deliveries as the DC bowlers were smart in not pitching the ball in his arc. But with two overs to spare, Morris changed gears and showed why he is worth every penny of his pricetag.
Smashing Kagiso Rabada for 15 runs off the penultimate over, Morris brought the equation down to a very manageable 12 from the last 6 balls. Pant's decision to hand the last over to Tom Curran proved to be costly as the England pacer kept on bowling in the slot.
A juicy full-toss was smashed by Morris over mid-wicket to give RR their first win of the season. His 36* off just 18 balls proved he is still one of the best T20 finishers in the world.