Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) edged past an upbeat Delhi Daredevils (DD) in match no. 33 of IPL 2016 at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday. This seven-wicket win was a much-needed one as the Supergiants are still alive in this edition of the IPL.
The Daredevils posted a total of 162 runs and the run chase was not going to be easy. But the RPS batsmen, especially Ajinkya Rahane batted exceptionally well to take their side over the line with five balls to spare.
Rahane and RPS' latest recruit Usman Khawaja opened the batting for the visitors. They got off to a decent start. The Daredevils had their share of chances in the first six overs. They missed all of them.
Rahane and Khawaja added 59 runs in the first wicket and that laid the foundation for the remaining batsmen to come.
Khawaja, who made his IPL debut on Thursday, looked good with his willow. But he will want to bring in more precision in his batting. Amit Mishra dismissed Khawaja after he scored 30 from 27 balls.
The Aussie batsman has been is sublime form since the start of the year and he can surely help MS Dhoni to turn the wheels of fortune.
Rahane continued with his innings and made sure he stays their right till the end of the run chase. He anchored the run chase and remained unbeaten on 63 runs from 48 balls. This was Rahane's fifth half-century in IPL 2016.
MS Dhoni played a brisk innings and he also picked up 20 runs from the 18th over. He tried to finish off the game quickly. Sam Billings took a blinder in the mid-wicket boundary to dismiss Dhoni.
Thisara Perera finished things off in style with two monsterous hit at the end.
Earlier, MS Dhoni had won the toss and pushed the hosts to bat first on a wicket that looked to be tricky right from the start of the match.
Rishabh Pant, who was the star performer against Gujarat Lions, failed to make an impact in this game and was castled by Ashok Dinda.
Sanju Samson got a start but could not convert it into a big one as he departed for 20 runs.
JP Duminy, Sam Billings, Carlos Brathwaite and Pawan Negi, all contributed with the bat. Billngs and Brathwaite struck some meaty blows towards the end and that helped the Daredevils to reach a par score of 162 for the loss of seven wickets at the end of 20 overs.
DD rested Quinton de Kock, Zaheer Khan, Chris Morris and Shahbaz Nadeem for this match. That probably cost them the match.
There was absolutely no good reason to rest four of their mainstream players including the skipper Zaheer Khan, when the tournament has gone past the halfway mark. Also, all these players have contributed in the wins that the Delhi outfit has registered in IPL 2016. Zaheer probably had a niggle and opted to sit out against the Supergiants but the others have been in good shape.
The Daredevils should not be experimenting with their playing XI, as they have been very well in this edition of the IPL.