Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Ajinkya Rahane smashed a spectacular half-century to help the Rajasthan Royals hand the Delhi Daredevils their sixth straight loss in Ahmedabad.
Even though Delhi lost the match by 62 runs, batsman Manoj Tiwary deserves some credit as well as he scored an unbeaten 61.
Delhi captain Kevin Pietersen would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first as Rajasthan opener Karun Nair was given out lbw off the bowling of Shahbaz Nadeem for 19.
Kevon Cooper hammered a quickfire 32 before he was caught by Laxmi Shukla off the bowling of Jean Paul (JP) Duminy.
Rahane and Sanju Samson kept the runs flowing with a 74-run partnership, during which Rahane brought up his half-century, before he was clean bowled by Nadeem for 64 off 50 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six.
Stuart Binny failed to trouble the scorers as he was stumped by Dinesh Karthik off the bowling of Imran Tahir for a duck.
Tahir struck again just three balls later when Samson was caught by Kedar Jadhav at long-on for 40, which came off 25 deliveries and included two boundaries and three sixes.
Ben Cutting only made eight runs before he was run out by Shukla.
Rajasthan eventually finished on 201/6 off their 20 overs thanks to James Faulkner’s unbeaten knock of 23.
Nadeem and Tahir picked up two wickets apiece, while Duminy chipped in with one.
Chasing a mammoth target of 202 to win, Delhi got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Mayank Agarwal was caught by Rajasthan stand-in captain Steven Smith at mid-off off the bowling of Faulkner for 17.
Karthik only made three runs before he was caught by Cutting at fine leg off the bowling of Dhawal Kulkarni.
Duminy scored eight runs before he was caught by Nair at point off the bowling of Pravin Tambe.
Pietersen failed to save his team as he was clean bowled by Rajat Bhatia for 13.
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor fared no better as he was caught and bowled by Bhatia for four runs.
Jadhav mustered three runs before he was run out by Cutting.
Nadeem only made one run before he was cleaned up by Cutting.
Tahir accumulated four runs before he had his stumps shattered by Binny.
Shukla managed to make 14 runs before he was caught by Smith at extra cover off the bowling of Cooper.
Delhi ended up finishing on 139/9 off their 20 overs, leaving them 62 runs short of their target.
Tiwary was left stranded on 61, which came off 44 balls and included five boundaries and two sixes.
Bhatia was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Kulkarni, Cutting, Cooper, Faulkner, Tambe and Binny claimed one wicket each.
Pietersen was disappointed at having lost the match, and said: “I’d probably hold my hand up and say that I got it wrong at the toss. The pitch got a lot slower. It’s not going according to plan. We are not here to blame anybody. It’s a young squad and we need to look to perform a lot better next year.”
Smith was impressed with his team’s performance, and said: “It was outstanding. I didn’t have to do anything except sit on the sidelines and just field. It was perfect. I thought the wicket would slow up a bit and the bowlers bowled beautifully. It was a clinical performance all round. We like to target our opposition and it has worked fine. We hope to continue in the business end.”
Rahane was named Man of the Match, and said: “Really enjoyed batting here. After the first six overs, the wicket got a bit slow. We didn’t really talk about targets during the time out. We just wanted to back ourselves and stay positive. We just want one guy to bat till the end, today it was my turn.”