Like Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals too enjoyed a memorable homecoming, romping home by 10 runs even as rain wreaked havoc and nearly threatened to wash out the contest altogether.
After being left dazed by a spectacular KL Rahul assault in their tournament opener, Delhi Daredevils suffered another painful reminder that there was plenty of work left to do for Gautam Gambhir and Co.
Asked to chase a revised target of 71 in six overs after rain halted play with Rajasthan batting on 153/5 in 17.5 overs, Delhi struggled to find their bearings with a big hit the norm for every ball.
Who knows? DD might have walked away with a win had it been a full game. Delhi bat deep and have the personnel who can use the bottom handle to good effect. The wicket also looked good for batting. Gambhir went one better and said the pitch was a “dream” to bat on.
His bowlers, though, could have attacked Rajasthan more in the middle overs, a phase where they slightly drifted away as the Rajasthan batsmen seized the initiative.
Sanju Samson shines once again
For the second match in a row, Sanju Samson was the pick of the batsmen for Rajasthan Royals. Yet again, he had arrived at the crease after the loss of two early wickets.
Samson wasted little time getting the scoreboard ticking and was strong on either side of the wicket. Armed with the gift of timing, Samson, with the help of his skipper Ajinkya Rahane (45) saw his team seize the initiative with a timely 22-ball 37. If rain-hadn’t played spoilsport, Rajasthan could have been able to post a big imposing target.
The effort earned the 23-year-old the Man of the Match award.
Even last year, Samson had started off with a bang for Delhi, but along with his side, his personal form also waned. With a lot at stake, including a potential place in the national down the road, Samson would be looking to make this IPL season count. A match-winning to start off should keep him motivated and hungry for more.
Laughlin outwits compatriot Maxwell
A six-over contest can go either way. Had Glenn Maxwell got into his stride early, one can never deduce the kind of pressure that would have put on the Rajasthan camp. The Australian big-hitter, clearly rusty after arriving just a day earlier, failed to get his trademark striking rhythm early.
First, it was Jaydev Undakat who left Maxwell frustrated with wide yorkers. It was his compatriot Ben Laughlin, who brought his downfall just as he looked to have hit his stride,
The veteran pacer’s use of the slow delivery kept the batsmen on their toes at a time when they needed a boundary almost every second ball. And his success rubbed off on Unadkat too. The Indian also took the pace off the ball at a stage where the batsmen throwing their bat with their eyes closed.
The rain delay
At the presentation ceremony, Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir said that the revised target during the rain-hit match was a difficult one to chase.
“We were very much in the game. It was a beautiful wicket to bat on, then 150-odd for 5 in 18 overs, we thought we could contain them to 170 and it was chaseable, especially with dew coming in later on,” Gambhir said after the match.
The win by Rajasthan was the first in this edition of the IPL by a team batting first. In the previous five contests in the competition, the side chasing, which had come up on top.
Gambhir would have backed his side to make it six. Could the result have been different, if not for the rain?
“We were very much happy with the first innings. But then in 6 overs, 71 was tough,” he said. “We had to go from ball one. Obviously with these sort of games, things could go either way. Just 2 overs of Powerplay, it’s very difficult,” the southpaw added.
“If it was a 20-over game, it would’ve been much easier to chase.”