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IPL 2018: Delhi Daredevils perfecting the nuances of losing back-to-back matches

Rajasthan Royals, despite not playing for two years, extended their winning streak on home ground to nine matches by beating Delhi Daredevils by 10 runs (D/L method)

Anish Kumar & Shivansh Jaurhi 

IPL 2018, Rajasthan Royals bowler Jaydev Unadkat celebrates after taking wicket of  Delhi Daredevils batsman Rishabh Pant during an IPL cricket match  at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur
Rajasthan Royals bowler Jaydev Unadkat celebrates after taking wicket of Delhi Daredevils batsman Rishabh Pant during an IPL cricket match at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur Photo: PTI

You miss it, I'll hit it! That's a common cricketing phrase, meaning the obvious. However, when it is Delhi Daredevils you are playing against, you can be confident of hitting it, as Delhi will, more often than not, miss it!

Playing against Rajasthan Royals at in Jaipur, DD were desperate for a win, and so was RR. They had both lost their respective opening games of Indian Premier League (IPL 2018). This rain-hit match was reduced to 6 overs for the chasing side, so we will make this quick.

Having won the toss, DD captain Gautam Gambhir invited RR to bat. Rajasthan did not get a flying start but managed to keep the scoreboard ticking. By the end of 10 overs, Delhi let Rajasthan score at almost 9 runs per over. This was where they started digging their own grave. The match was stopped due to rain when RR were at 153-5 in 17.5 overs. Chris Morris had leaked 34 runs in his 3 overs. Lucky for them that RR did not bat for full 20 overs.

The match is reduced to 6 over and the Duckworth-Lewis method came into play. Delhi was given 71 runs to chase off six overs. Now, given that it was a fast-scoring game, 71 was always gettable – only the batsmen needed to click. But did they? Of course not!
Packed by power hitters, Delhi should have easily won. But they made a huge error. Gautam Gambhir did not come to open the innings and instead sent Glenn Maxwell, whose form is as dicey as rains in Rajasthan at this time of the year, to open the innings with Colin Munro. Maxwell did not play the first match and his match readiness was suspect. Despite that, he was sent to face the first ball. It was a swing and a miss on the first ball, but Colin Munro wanted to take a single – indeed, he paid the price for it. First ball and Munro was sent packing, run out. A perfect Delhi-like start, wasn’t it?.

After Rishab Pant joined Maxwell in the middle, for the large part the latter was seen doing what he has of late been doing best — swinging hard and missing everything. He looked so out of form that one thought he had entered the cricket pitch after a decade. Pant hit a few over the fence, but the required run rate kept moving up. The pressure was mounting and, understandably, that consumed the wicket of Maxwell. Later, Pant followed suit in a hurry. The DD batsmen, with no answer to Ben Laughlin's clinical bowling, kept throwing their bats at everything.

Wet ball, damp outfield and sheer pressure to score so much added to Delhi’s woes. The ball was not coming on to the bat as quickly as the batsmen would like. Slower deliveries were doing the trick and lofted shots went high in the air. Seeing the helplessness of Delhi batsmen, however, all one can say is that they were underprepared, rusty and sub-par. It can't be superior bowling alone.

Anyhow, Rajasthan was able to win the match by 10 runs, thanks to Delhi’s mindless batting. The failure of the top order, some questionable decision-making by Gautam Gambir and lack of winning attitude saw Delhi gifting Rajasthan their homecoming match. Rajasthan Royals have now extended their winning streak on their home ground to 9 matches, despite not playing IPL for two years.

First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 09:39 IST