In a pace-off between the fast bowlers of the two teams, Delhi Capitals had two speed merchants in their corner while Rajasthan Royals had one.
That proved to be crucial as Kagiso Rabada (1/28) and Anrich Nortje (2/33) turned on the screws just when it mattered and eked out a 13-run victory for Delhi at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
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Just when it seemed the Royals were going to get past the winning line, Nortje bowled a cracking 18th over in which he rattled Robin Uthappa‘s (32 off 27b; 3×4, 1×6) stumps with a searing 150kph yorker. Rabada followed it with a 3-run over in the 19th, after which the game was done and dusted in DC’s favour.
During the DC innings, Jofra Archer was in full flight. It is a sight to watch when Archer runs in and bowls 150kph thunderbolts at batsmen. More often than not the ball hits the bat. The batsman seldom has control over the sequence. And if it is a bouncer, the batsman gets a whiff of leather whizzing past his nose. Archer is one of the very few speedsters among contemporary bowlers whose length ball gathers pace after it pitches.
DC’s Prithvi Shaw got a taste of that skiddy, pacy, accurate length ball a few moments after he took strike. The ball bowled by Archer, at 145kph, went through a huge gap between the bat and the pad before taking the middle pole out of the ground. It was a dream start for the Royals. The next five balls that Archer bowled in the over were all in the vicinity of 150kph – one recording 151.9kph. Ajinkya Rahane too had to bear the brunt of Archer’s fire spitting spell.
Tied down and made to look out of touch, Rahane tried to up the ante in Archer’s next over. He went for a short arm pull to another lightning fast delivery; but it was too quick and got big on him. The ball hit the splice of the bat and went straight to mid-on where Robin Uthappa completed the formalities.
DC were in big trouble at 10/2. But fortunately, Archer was taken off the attack. Shikhar Dhawan (57 off 33b; 6×4, 2×6) and Shreyas Iyer (53 off 43b; 3×4, 2×6) breathed a sigh of relief. Why wouldn’t they? Rahul Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal hardly posed the kind of threat Archer had subjected the team to.
So the pair milked the trundlers, occasionally hitting them for a six or a four and kept the scoreboard rolling. Iyer and Dhawan added 85 for the third wicket. Just when it seemed that they’ll take DC to a big score both got out. First Dhawan perished trying an atrocious reverse sweep off Gopal, then Iyer holed out to long-off.