Rajasthan Royals making slow and steady recovery; Delhi Daredevils need to get their act together
Rajasthan Royals convincingly beat Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets in IPL 7 © IANS
Rajasthan Royals romped home to a comprehensive seven wicket win over the struggling Delhi Daredevils in the 23rd match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 on Saturday. Devarchit Varma explains why Rajasthan have been successful in the tournament so far and why Delhi, who are languishing at the bottom of the IPL 7 points table, lost yet another game which they could have won.
Rajasthan Royals smashed a hapless Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets in their homeground Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Saturday night. While Rajasthan have looked convincing so far in the tournament, Delhi only have problems galore in all departments of the game. For Rajasthan, the young batsmen have taken the onus of helping their side move ahead, but on the other hand, a star-studded Delhi setup are yet to find their heroes.
Delhi’s biggest problem in the game wasn’t their batting alone — their bowlers have failed to make a mark so far in the tournament. Apart from JP Duminy and Murali Vijay and Quinton de Kock to some extent, Delhi have seen their middle-order flop on more than one occasion. Kevin Pietersen’s ordinary form hasn’t helped the team’s cause one bit, and Kedar Jadhav bats lower down the order.
Delhi did not make a great start in their clash against Rajasthan. Vijay fell early, and despite some fireworks by de Kock, there was no support from the other end. Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik came out to bat at the critical positions of No 3 and 4, but their efforts weren’t enough. Both looked a little rusty, and when Pravin Tambe struck in quick succession to dismiss both Pietersen and de Kock in space of three deliveries, there was no comeback of sorts for them.
New batsman Duminy and Jadhav took time to settle in, and this is where Rajasthan pounced upon the chance to take the game in control. The Shane Watson-led side has been impressive so far in the IPL 2014 by executing their plans to perfection, and once again, Rajasthan bowlers stifled the Delhi batsmen. There was a period of lull as none of their batsmen could stage a counter attack. They did rotate the strike well, but lack of fours and sixes did hamper their chances of putting up a strong first innings total. From the 11th over till the second last ball of the 16th, there was not a single boundary that was hit. This is where Rajasthan won the game.
Duminy and Jadhav played quickfire innings towards the end, but perhaps the total they had managed was not enough. Delhi’s bowlers haven’t made a mark in the tournament so far, and Rajasthan are dogged opponents with lots of talent in their ranks. The early dismissal of Ajinkya Rahane would have raised Delhi’s hopes, but the failure of their bowlers to maintain pressure on young Rajasthan batsmen also proved that Delhi have a lot of background work left.
Karun Nair, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his innings of 73 not out started of cautiously, and the lack of pressure implied by Delhi’s bowlers helped him to play with ease. He did not look for big strokes, as his start was rather scratchy. But Nair was smart enough to keep the strike rotating and with the calm-headed Sanju Samson at the other end, he took Rajasthan ahead in the game. The two batsmen added 51 runs for the second wicket, and when Samson fell after scoring a fluent 34, Delhi were again back in the game. Rajasthan’s move to promote Rajat Bhatia did surprise everyone, but here was a chance that Delhi let go. Bhatia and Nair teamed up to add another 44 runs, and the momentum shifted once again in Rajasthan’s favour.
Bhatia did not score much — he was dismissed for 17 off 13 balls, but the time that he spent at the crease and the runs added along with Nair defied Delhi once again. In fact, when Bhatia fell in the 15th over at the team total of 115, the game was in complete control of Rajasthan. Delhi’s players were not looking motivated enough, and bowlers were not able to create enough chances.
Rajasthan would be happy with this win in particular because the backing given to Nair and Samson has started paying off, and also their move of promoting Bhatia ahead of Shane Watson and Steven Smith worked out well. For Delhi, the poor form of the middle-order and their bowlers are major worries.
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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)