Daredevils v Royals, IPL 2014, Delhi May 3, 2014

Nair fashions Royals' clinical chase


Rajasthan Royals 156 for 3 (Nair 73*, Samson 34) beat Delhi Daredevils 152 for 5 (de Kock 42, Duminy 39, Tambe 2-25) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Rajasthan Royals produced one of their better batting performances this season to keep pace with the two table leaders and no, the starring roles didn't feature Ajinkya Rahane or Shane Watson or Stuart Binny. There was one steadying hand from Sanju Samson to ensure the middling target was under control and a surprise promotion for Rajat Bhatia, but it was another young batsman, playing only his third game for the franchise, who reaffirmed Royals' narrative of being a moneyball outfit. Karun Nair, the Karnataka batsman who had scores of 8 and 1 in his previous two outings, was conservative to start with, but opened up in the second half of his innings to hit an unbeaten half-century to sink Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets.

A chase of 153 had tested Royals two years ago at the same ground when they had fallen a run short, but there were no such surprises this time as Royals built a solid foundation to set up the launch. In that first half, Nair had almost remained invisible in the shadow of Samson's strokeplay. He was on 29 off the first 30 balls he faced despite hitting three crisp boundaries. Maybe it was the dismissal of Samson or maybe it was the need to be assertive in the company of Bhatia, who was sent to provide some thrust to the innings, Nair's second half was in complete contrast to the first. His next 20 deliveries produced 44 runs that included five fours and two sixes, the second of which could have done Watson proud for its disdain.

Watson joined Nair towards the end of the innings and hit a couple of sixes too, but his - or his team management's - decision of sending Bhatia ahead of better batsmen proved to be one of his more effective strokes. Bhatia can bat, but he has never played as high as No. 4 in the IPL. His cross-batted slogs were not the most pleasing to the eye, but just like his bowling, his stand of 44 runs in five overs with Nair quickly deflated Daredevils bowling, especially with the danger of Watson looming.

Unlike Royals, Daredevils batting had been a three-part story, all quite different from each other, but adding up in the end to a fighting total. After being asked to bat, Quinton de Kock and M Vijay were not really fussed by the frequent change of bowlers by Royals and added a confident 33 runs for the first wicket before Vijay was caught at mid-off. The fall of wicket or the distractions involving the square-leg umpire, who let Kevin Pietersen off the hook by not reviewing a run-out call, didn't affect de Kock's approach as he went about picking his boundaries at a regular pace.

Daredevils were 68 for 1 when Pravin Tambe removed both de Kock, who was out caught and bowled, and Pietersen, who holed out at long-on, in the same over to signal the start of a period of Royals dominance. Only 32 runs came in the next six overs and it took an enterprising effort from JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav to lift Delhi out from that hole.

Jadhav may have been lucky to get his first six - a top edge off James Faulkner - but none of his later shots were mis-hits. He finished the innings with a flourish, hitting one of the biggest sixes of the match in the last over and was unbeaten on 28 off 14 balls. Duminy as usual had played his part too in helping Delhi add 58 off the last five overs. It gave their bowlers a chance, but on a pitch that was a far cry from some of the slower surfaces Delhi has dished out in the past, it was always going to be a tough one to defend.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • David on May 4, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    @ Nikko Chunn commented that "Not playing Neesham was bad enough and our batting suffered immeasurably without him... then Parnell bowled poorly too…"

    As a Saffa, Parnell frustrates the hell out of me. He is either really good, or really bad, with nothing in between. (He is usually great when he has not played for a while.) Yet, to my immense surprise, when I looked up the team stats I found Parnell is DD's 2nd most economical bowler, at econ 7.26. (Coulter-Nile is unfortunately out.)

    Neesham concedes more runs at econ 9.62, and his batting is no better! He has scored 30 runs in 3 innings, highest score 22!

    I'm not arguing for Parnell - he SHOULD be dropped as he always bowls best coming back into the team - it seems to motivate him to prove himself. I think the secret to using him well is to play him, then drop him, then play him, then drop him ….

    Not sure at all about Neesham. After 3 matches he is way down the list of batting & bowling averages!

  • David on May 4, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    @ cricketlover111 commented that "The Australian foreign players team beat the South Africans ... DD team is average apart from Duminy."

    Even worse, Duminy is DD's most economical bowler, & he did not send down a single over!

    The problem is the captain of the South African Foreign Players Team is no longer a proper Saffa. KP spent so long playing for England he slowly lost his Saffa cricket skills and …… how else can I say this ….. slid downhill to settle at the level of …. ummm … English players! (Note: "English" players in IPL teams learned cricket somewhere else, like SA, Ireland, etc.)

    The South African Foreign Players Team should sack their skipper & rejoin with the New Zealand Foreign Players. Both love to beat those 'other' *Southern Hemisphere players - the Aussies.

    If DD do play 4 foreign players, they should at least be in form, & contribute! Million dollar players who don't perform are deadweights.

    *For the IPL, Zim's player is an honorary Saffa

  • David on May 4, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Dehli's most economical bowler is Duminy, econ 6.64. Rahul Sharma's econ is 10.83. Unadkat's econ is 8.46. Snami's ave is 8.41.

    So why in heaven's name did KP not bowl Duminy, and yet sent in Sharma, Unadkat and Shami, when the objective was to LIMIT the Royals scoring?

    Why is Karthik even playing? Is it because they spent so much money on him? He is clearly not picked because he is a run machine! Not with a 17.66 ave!!!!!! Little de Kock has scored the same number of runs as Karthic, but in half the innings. As so many Asian commenters here have observed, as a South African he can't play spin,but his average is 35.33 - the second best in the team!

    de Kock is a good keeper. Karthik is in terrible form. Drop Karthik & pick a youngster who is hungry for runs! And as for KP - poor batting, poor captaincy! He can go with Karthik. Dehli Daredevils' $3 million bench warmers!

  • avaneesh on May 4, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    Congrats Shilpa Shetty. Your team is as beautiful as you. Hope your team continue to win by miles to bring on your face lot of smiles. By the by Binny has become a permanent 1 over bowler! Any way my favorite team RR b'cse of Dravid, Nair and Binny in the team.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Leg umpire Sanjay Hazare was saved yesterday thanks to Tambe and Smith getting KP out for 14 after that horrible umpiring.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    Delhi bowling has been toothless.. Not having a single match winning bowler.... poor show with no fight....

    Dravid!!!!! you beauty....

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2014, 9:01 GMT

    RR is like Arsenal. They don't have stars, but they create stars. Lovely team.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    Facebook User - who are you calling the underdogs? Rajasthan wee the bookies' favourite... so the opposite was true. Fact. DD lost, again, due to no balance / Neesham.... Parnell is, on current form, a bowler (in every third game it would seem he is anyway).... Neesham an all-rounder who gives the batting line-up more confidence to get the 10 runs we were short the other night. I refuse to concede we are worse, until we are playing our best eleven and thus our strongest unit tested. And when KP does not bowl the spinners on short boundaries for at least four overs more than needed.... not bowling Duminy either, meaning we had NO all-rounder at all.... in t20.... SAD!! Just too annoying to believe.

  • Machu on May 4, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    RAHUL DRAVID is Great ,because he is encouraging Young cricketers and giving Chance to young Cricketers to show their talents ....So I support Rajasthan Royals....

  • Android on May 4, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Those who call Rajasthan an underdog side should realize that they are not at all underdogs and they were bound to win this comfortably .They have a good squad of proven performers like Watson Smith Faulkner Samson Binny Hodge .They are no longer underdogs and do not punch above their weight unlike the 1 st 3 seasons.

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