IPL 2021’s most expensive buy Chris Morris pulled off a spectacular chase for Rajasthan Royals (RR) against Delhi Capitals (DC) in Mumbai on Thursday. The all-rounder blasted an unbeaten 36 off 18 with the aid of four cracking sixes as RR chased down a 148-run target with three wickets and two balls to spare.
In a match that ebbed and flowed right through, Morris had the final say. With RR requiring 27 off the last two overs, Morris smashed two sixes off the penultimate over from Kagiso Rabada to keep the match on a knife’s edge. The first ball of the over was a slower one that was carted over cow corner. The fifth one, a length ball, was shovelled over square leg for another maximum.
With 12 needed off the last over bowled by Tom Curran, Morris sneaked in a couple off the first ball. The next delivery was a leg cutter that sat up nicely for the tall RR batsman, who swung for a six over deep square.
Morris brought up the victory for RR in style. The fourth ball of the over was a low full toss that was muscled over deep square once again. Game Over with two balls to spare!
Earlier, defending only 147, Chris Woakes ensured DC were in the game by picking up two wickets in an over. After being hit for a couple of boundaries by Manan Vohra (9), Woakes had his revenge, as the batsman fell on the next ball.
A length delivery on the middle and leg stump was miscued by Vohra and was pouched by mid-on. In the same over, Jos Buttler (2) was trapped with one that jagged back in. Buttler could only inside-edge his compatriot to the wicketkeeper.
Meanwhile, RR captain Sanju Samson, fresh from his hundred in the previous game, came in and creamed Kagiso Rabada for a four. He perished soon thereafter, though, edging a length ball outside the off-stump to slip. Suddenly at 17 for 3, the game was wide open.
Shivam Dube (2) made matters worse for RR, wafting at a delivery from Avesh Khan outside off with no foot movement to give Shikhar Dhawan another slip catch. Riyan Parag (2) was then completely deceived by a slower one from Khan as Dhawan took his third catch, this time at extra cover.
Just when David Miller (62) and Rahul Tewatia (19) were leading a fightback for RR, Rabada struck with a short ball to have the latter caught at midwicket. Like Rishabh Pant for DC, Miller kept RR in the hunt with a defiant half-century, though.
It was Miller who hit the first six of the match, launching Khan over backward square leg. The next ball also went for a maximum, clattering over deep backward square. Khan held his nerves, though, and delivered the massive wicket with a full ball that the left-hander failed to get under and could only toe-end to long-on. Thankfully for RR, Morris was there to finish the job.
Jaydev Unadkat's three-for restricts DC to 147 for 8
Rajasthan Royals (RR) left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat used his slower deliveries to deadly effect on a responsive surface to rip apart the Delhi Capitals top order. Unadkat ended with excellent figures of 3 for 15 as DC managed only 147 for 8 after being put into bat.
Unadkat began the damage off the last ball of this first over, the second of DC’s innings. He sent back the dangerous Prithvi Shaw (2) with a full slower ball. Shaw tried to hit the ball across the line but only managed a leading edge to backward point.
The left-arm seamer then found himself on a hat-trick when Shikhar Dhawan (9) perished off the first ball of Unadkat's next over. The left-hander tried to play a cheeky ramp but failed to get much power. The ball lobbed up, and Sanju Samson timed his jump perfectly to hold on to a brilliant catch.
Things went from bad to worse for DC, as Ajinkya Rahane (8) was undone by a ball that never came on to the bat. The batsman tried to check his drive at the last moment but only gave the simplest of return catches to Unadkat.
Having seen what Unadkat had achieved with his slower balls, another RR left-arm seamer, Mustafizur Rahman, also followed the same success mantra of the day. He delivered a cutter to Marcus Stoinis (0), who was through with his shot too early and chipped a catch towards short extra cover. Stoinis' dismissal left DC reeling at 37 for 4.
DC captain Rishabh Pant played a lone hand for the team with a fighting half-century, providing another demonstration of his maturity. He hit nine fours during his innings, including four in an over from Rahul Tewatia, as the bowler dropped his deliveries wide and short.
Pant brought up his fifty off 30 balls by cutting Mustafizur Rahman for a boundary. However, DC’s hopes of a decent total seemingly evaporated when their captain was caught short of his crease by a direct hit from Riyan Parag while going for a highly risky single.
Cameos from Lalit Yadav (20), Tom Curran (21) and Chris Woakes (15 not out) ensured DC got close to 150. Incredibly, DC did not hit a single six during their innings.
IPL 2021: RR vs DC - Man of the Match
DC captain Rishabh Pant held the innings together for his team with a fine half-century even as wickets were falling around him. His fighting 51 gave his side something to bowl at.
When it was DC’s turn to bowl, Chris Woakes impressed by dismissing RR openers, Jos Buttler and Manan Vohra. Avesh Khan also excelled, claiming the wickets of David Miller, Shivam Dube and Riyan Parag to further peg back RR.
Jaydev Unadkat was sensational for RR at the start. He bowled excellent slower balls to stun a strong DC top order. In no time, DC lost their top three. Unadkat ended his spell with memorable figures of 3 for 15.
David Miller also played an excellent hand for RR with a hard-fought 62. Chris Morris made a match-changing contribution with his lusty blows at the fag end. However, Jaydev Unadkat was declared the Man of the Match for his splendid bowling effort.