The Rajasthan Royals posted their biggest total in IPL 2014 with an overall batting master class, before romping to their biggest win of the season as the cannot-buy-a-win Daredevils slumped to yet another defeat in this most miserable of campaigns for the Delhi franchise.
Put into bat first in Ahmedabad, after Kevin Pietersen won the toss and decided to chase even if he wasn't entirely sure of the reasons behind the decision, the Royals struck gold from the off, with Ajinkya Rahane (64) acting as the perfect anchor to allow the likes of Kevon Cooper (32), Sanju Samson (40) and James Faulkner (23 n.o.) to go slam-bang.
The result was a big score of 201 for six in their 20 overs, which the Daredevils found too daunting, as they finished on a tame 139 for nine to hand the Royals a massive 62-run win.
The victory allowed RR to firm their grip on third place, with their seventh win in 11 matches taking them to within two points of leaders KXIP and CSK, while DD remain rooted to the bottom with just four points from 11 games.
The Daredevils are in such a rut at the moment, that no matter what they do, it turns to dust, and that too despite getting a couple of reprieves from the Royals.
Kevin Pietersen decided to open the batting to shake things up a little bit and force himself back into form, but the result was pretty much the same with wicket after wicket tumbling and the Daredevils' confidence and morale crumbling.
Mayank Agarwal was the first to go, after a 10-ball 17 (3x4), and that too thanks to an early drop from Ben Cutting, with the opener mistiming a shot straight to Steven Smith, captain for the match with Shane Watson sitting out with a niggle, off James Faulkner.
Wickets just kept falling after that, as the Daredevils failed to create any kind of momentum, with Dinesh Karthik adding to the misery by pulling a long-hop off Dhawal Kulkarni straight down the throat of Cutting.
Duminy, Daredevils' lone gem this season, struck a nice six off Pravin Tambe to raise hopes of at least making a game of it, only to gift his wicket away the very next delivery, cutting one straight to Karun Nair at point.
Pietersen, who was lucky to survive a run out after it was not referred to the third umpire – the second time the DD skipper has received such a reprieve, with ironically both times happening against the Royals -- had seen the carnage unfold from one end and he added his name to it soon enough, going for a big heave off Rajat Bhatia only to miss the ball completely and see his stumps disturbed with the 18-ball 13 (1x4) yet again a major disappointment.
It was game, set and match for the Royals after that, despite Manoj Tiwary's (61 n.o., 44b, 5x4, 2x6) best efforts, as DD crashed to another heavy defeat.
It was a near-perfect first innings, delayed by 15 minutes due to a light shower, for the Rajasthan Royals with the bat, with the openers giving the side a strong start, before every batsman that came in contributed in some manner or the other.
Rahane was again the pivot around which the other batsmen batted, with the India international anchoring the innings brilliantly well, before striking a few lusty blows himself towards the end.
Rahane and Karun Nair (19, 14b, 1x4, 1x6) put on 44 together in just 33 balls to set the foundation, with the latter the first to fall, trapped in front by Shahbaz Nadeem.
Cooper was sent in with the message quite clearly to strike every delivery to the boundary, and for 16 balls the West Indian did just that, smoking a couple of fours and three sixes in his innings of 32. The momentum was only increased with that quickfire knock, and Sanju Samson came in, after Cooper holed out to Duminy, to continue the assault.
Samson, when on song, and even when not quite at his best as well, is a joy to watch, and some of the shots he played down the ground were sheer class again as the Kerala teenager put on 74 in just 6.3 overs with Rahane.
Rahane (64, 50, 8x4, 1x6) was dismissed by Nadeem (two for 35) in the 17th over, with RR on 167, with Stuart Binny, for a duck, and Samson (40, 25, 2x4, 3x6) falling in the next over bowled by Imran Tahir (4-0-25-2) as DD looked to pull things back just a little to give themselves a prayer of competing.
However, Ben Cutting came in and struck the second biggest six in IPL 2014, before James Faulkner (23 n.o., 8b, 3x6) did what he does best, smash a few maximums, to take the Royals over 200, a total that DD did not even threaten to breach.