Rajasthan Royals pulled off an even bigger heist than Mumbai Indians as an astonishing batting effort from Chris Morris saw the chasing side emerge victorious for the first time since Game 2. With the Royals down and out of the game, Morris played a cameo for ages to take his side home.
Where Delhi Capitals lost the game
Chasing 148, Rajasthan were well and truly on the ropes at 58/5 after 12 overs, needing 90 off 8 overs. One more wicket was all that was needed to kill the game but Pant’s inexperience crept out. The next two overs were bowled by Tom Curran and Marcus Stoinis respectively, and it cost 27 runs. Yes, Morris played an otherworldly knock to take Rajasthan home, but the game should have been out of RR’s reach when the South African walked in to bat.
Ajinkya Rahane being a ‘collapse stopper’ is a myth
Okay, yes. Ajinkya Rahane played a wonderful knock in Delhi’s final group game versus Bangalore last season, where he orchestrated a chase of 153. But that is literally all he’s done for the Capitals. Take that knock away and Rahane’s DC number reads as follows: 8 innings, 61 runs, average 7.6 and SR 88.4. Six of Rahane’s Nine innings for DC have been single-digit scores and only twice has he made it beyond the powerplay. Since moving to Delhi, Rahane has, in fact, faced more than 20 balls in an innings just once and has been a mere passenger. Delhi need to ask themselves - what is the point of having an inefficient T20 batsman with a low ceiling in the XI, when he is not going to do his designated job of holding fort at one end?
Sanju Samson the captain is smart
Whisper quietly, but Sanju Samson might already be a better RR captain than both Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane. Why? Well, because he hit the nail on the head with how he utilized Jaydev Unadkat today. Since Unadkat’s move to RR, we’ve seen how the team has butchered the left-armer’s confidence by allocating two overs for him at the death, despite the bowler proving game in and game out that he is an abomination at the back end of the innings. But Samson today ensured that Unadkat was done with his four overs by half-way mark. Yes, Unadkat made life easy for Samson by taking two wickets in his first two overs, but it would have been so easy for the RR skipper to ‘save’ two overs for the death and stick to the original plan. Samson instead gave the veteran a third inside the powerplay - and Unadkat dismissed Rahane in that very over - and quite remarkably bowled him out in the 10tth over, which cost just three. Unadkat made a billion people eat humble pie by returning figures of 3/15 off his 4, but he might have a certain Samson to thank for his successful day out.
Has the Wankhede……..stopped being batsman friendly?
We all switched on our televisions today hoping for a run-fest after witnessing two painful collapses in the past two days. Guess the Wankhede curator, too, derives satisfaction out of watching the viewers be denied what they want. Certainly no one expected a first innings score of 147 and the first instance of a six being not hit in an IPL innings at the Wankhede. Both DC and RR lost more wickets than any other side in the powerplay last season but we definitely were not expecting them to combinedly lose 6 wickets inside the first 6 overs AT THE WANKHEDE. The dismissals of Stoinis and Rahane in the first innings, and Manan Vohra in the second, were down to the ball getting stuck on the wicket, indicating that the pitch had slowed down. There were quite a few loose hits but the Wankhede today was in no way the road that it was three days ago in the RR vs PBKS game. Here’s hoping that this game is an outlier, and that we get back to witnessing run-fests at this lovely stadium.
Hot take zone
Steve Smith should be the first overseas batsman in Delhi’s team sheet
If there ever was a sign from the gods for Delhi that they needed to draft Steve Smith into the XI, today’s batting display was it. And no, this is not reactionary. For the side’s batting composition is inherently flawed; in game one, the cracks were papered over by the impeccable Shaw-Dhawan partnership. In the current system, there is an evident disconnect between the top and the middle-order, due to which the team will always struggle should one of the two openers not bat deep. Rahane is no Iyer and the middle-order, barring Pant, is unreliable and paper thin. (We warned you that Stoinis over-performed last season). Say what you want about Smith, he is simply the glue that this DC line-up needs. Who among Hetmyer and Woakes/Curran should make way can be debated, but what should be a given is Smith finding a place in this DC starting XI.
CHRIS MORRIS. CHRIS MORRIS. CHRIS MORRIS. Double his salary, will you? Rajasthan had no business winning the game after Miller perished, but then Morris decided to flex his talent. His 18-ball 36 on this sluggish Wankhede wicket was honestly worth a 40-ball 80. Incredible.
Match Frenzy O Meter - UNBELIEVABLE!
After threatening to go the MI-KKR and RCB-SRH way up until the 15th over of the chase, a remarkable cameo from Chris Morris salvaged the game and turned it into the match of the season. Can we just let RR play every match, please?