IPL: Belligerent top order gives Daredevils enough to edge out Royals

Jos Buttler drives uppishly, Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2018, Delhi, May 2, 2018

Delhi Daredevils had a lot of things different about them against Rajasthan Royals in their second meeting of the season – the captain had changed, the batting order was different and they’d posted a massive score batting first. It was a rain-curtailed game again, but this time they managed a different result too to rise above Mumbai Indians at the bottom of the table.

Jos Buttler drives uppishly, Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2018, Delhi, May 2, 2018

Defending 150 in 12 overs, Daredevils came under a brutal attack from the promoted Jos Buttler, whose 18-ball fifty helped Royals smash down more than half the required runs with six overs and ten wickets still in hand. But a middle-order slide engineered by Amit Mishra and Trent Boult saw Daredevils pull things back.

Earlier, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant had combined to put up 166 of the 196 runs Daredevils made in 17.1 overs.

When he lost the toss, Iyer said conditions would be easy and “not dewy” when his team went out to bat. Just over 20 minutes later, the ground staff were pulling the covers on to keep the outfield dry. The rain reduced the game to 18-overs-a-side.

Colin Munro faced his first ball against Royals this season, but when his inside edge against Dhawal Kulkarni was taken by Buttler, it became his second duck against them. Royals, who had replaced Rahul Tripathi with Ben Stokes at first slip, barely found another edge after that.

First, they got acquainted with the middle of Shaw’s bat, which often met the ball above waist height but always with full control; the teenager, not the tallest of men, frequently stayed put in his crease and followed rising short-of-a-length deliveries with just his hands to comfortably clear the infield, in the ‘V’. In the middle of all that, he mistimed a full toss and offered a return catch in the third over that Kulkarni couldn’t hold on to. It took a change in pace – the legspin of Shreyas Gopal – to get Shaw as he tried to hit another one through the line. He had made 47 off 25.

Pant has taken a couple of balls in the mid-riff this season while attempting to play the hook shot. Essentially, his falling over into the off side when the ball is pitched short has put him in trouble often.

It’s not something he has tried to remedy, though. After copping one on the body from a Stokes bouncer, the left-hander continued to get inside the line of the ball when it was pitched short and even managed a six on one instance as he tried to avoid flicking the off stump with his back leg. He made 24 runs behind the square region.

The rest of his runs came where they usually do – through the covers and at cow corner. Pant hit at least three boundaries through the off side that couldn’t have been more than five yards away from the closest fielder. They were just as helpless on those occasions as they were when he slugged three sixes on the leg side. In his 50th T20 match, this innings of 69 off 29 was the perfect tribute.(Excerpts from ESPNcricinfo)




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