DUBAI: South African quick Anrich Nortje clocked the fastest ball of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at 97 mph (156.22 kph) and claimed two key wickets to help Delhi Capitals beat Rajasthan Royals by 13 runs on Wednesday. SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE | FIXTURES
Nortje bowled England’s Jos Buttler, for 22, and Robin Uthappa, for 32, as Royals faltered in their chase of 162 to manage just 148 for eight in Dubai.
Nortje, who was ably supported by fellow Proteas paceman Kagiso Rabada, consistently bowled at over 90 mph through his four overs of fearsome pace in a match where Royals quick Jofra Archer returned figures of 3-19.
“No idea I bowled at 156ks tonight but good to hear it,” said man of the match Nortje.
Rabada, who took one wicket to stay top of the IPL bowlers chart with 18 scalps in eight games, was all praise for his pace partner, who was picked by Delhi Capitals as replacement for Chris Woakes ahead of the virus-hit season.
“He is a real fast bowler and I can learn some technical stuff from him. I have some experience which I can tell him about,” said Rabada.
On Nortje hitting the fastest IPL delivery, Rabada said, “It looks like that every game. Really happy for him but not happy for the batter. When we play we only think about the delivery and not about the speed gun.”
Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer made 53 and opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with 57 as Delhi scored 161 for seven after electing to bat first.
Iyer later walked off the field after injuring his shoulder while fielding and took no further part in the match.
Delhi have reclaimed top spot in the eight-team IPL table with six wins from eight games but second-placed Mumbai Indians have played just seven matches.
In reply, England’s Ben Stokes hit an attacking 41 but the knock went in vain as the Steve Smith-led Royals lost regular wickets and managed just 25 runs from their last five overs.
Stokes, a left-hand batsman, started the Royals reply with a four off Rabada as he put on 37 runs with opening partner Buttler attacked in his nine-ball stay.
Buttler took on Nortje in the third over, hitting a six and two successive scoop shots for four over short fine leg on deliveries that went over 95 miles an hour and one that clocked 97 mph.
Nortje, though, had his revenge on the last ball as he got through Buttler’s defences to rattle the stumps on another quick ball.
“Didn’t expect him to go for a six first ball. Maybe he was expecting something else off that delivery. Stuck to my strength and paid off,” Nortje said of his battle with Buttler.
“Didn’t expect the second ramp. Luckily I stuck to it. We’ve got a good coach in Ryan. Lovely working with KG (Rabada). Tushar (Deshpande) has been working in the nets. Enjoying my experience with them.”
Ravichandran Ashwin sent back Smith caught and bowled for one in the next over and soon IPL debutant Deshpande got the prized scalp of Stokes as Royals slipped to 86-3.