South African flavour stood out in Rajasthan Royals' (RR) batting line-up as Chris Morris 18-ball 36 and a 43-ball 62 by David Miller helped the Jaipur franchise script a thrilling three-wicket win over Delhi Capitals (DC) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. RR won the match with two balls to spare.
Things had looked difficult for RR as they lost three early wickets, including that of skipper Sanju Samson, and ended the powerplay period at an abysmal 26/3 while chasing DC's 147/8.
The third over of the innings saw DC strike bowler Chris Woakes (2/22) take two wickets -- Manan Vohra and Jos Buttler. In the next over, Kagiso Rabada (2/30) got rid of the centurion from the first match, Samson (4), leaving RR at 17/3. Samson played leaden-footed and gave a catch to Shikhar Dhawan at slips.
Pacer Avesh Khan (3/32) then got rid of Shivam Dube and Riyag Parag in successive overs to leave RR tottering at 425 after 9.2 overs. However, Miller stitched a 48-run partnership (off 33 balls) with Rahul Tewatia to bring RR back into the match.
Miller took 15 runs off Stoinis's 13th over, hammering the Australian medium-pacer for three boundaries. Soon after, a well-set Miller threw his wicket away. RR needed 44 runs off 32 balls when Miller, after hitting two sixes off Avesh Khan, hit one too many and was caught at long-on.
With 27 needed off two overs, Morris brought the equation down to 21 off 11 balls after hitting Rabada for a six off the first ball of the penultimate over. He hit another six off the fifth ball to narrow the gap.
The South African all-rounder, who was picked for a record Rs 16.25 crore in the auctions, then hammered two sixes off Tom Curran in last over to win the game for RR. Earlier, left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat took three early wickets to rattle the DC top-order as RR restricted the Delhi franchise to 147/8 in 20 overs.
Unadkat removed Prithvi Shaw (2), Shikhar Dhawan (9) and Ajinkya Rahane (8) to leave DC at 36/3 at the end of the powerplay. RR's left-arm seamer from Bangladesh, Mustafizur Rahman, then removed Marcus Stoinis (0) in his first over which he bowled immediately after the end of powerplay.
Skipper Rishabh Pant (51 off 32 balls), however, played a timely knock to stem the rot. Pant added 51 for the fifth wicket with debutant Lalit Yadav (20 off 24 balls) as DC moved close to the 100 run-mark.
With Pant at the crease, it looked like DC would get beyond 160. However, two quick wickets put the breaks on the DC innings. Pant was run out off a throw from Riyan Parag as he looked to steal a run, while Yadav fell to Morris to suddenly push DC on the backfoot again.
Tom Curran (21 off 16 balls) and Chris Woakes (15 not out off 11 balls) took DC to their eventual score. For RR, Unadkat picked up 3/15 from his four overs, while Rahman scalped 2/29 from his four overs. The bowling efforts paid off as despite the poor start, RR managed to win the game.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 147/8 in 20 overs (R Pant 51, T Curran 21, L Yadav 20, J Unadkat 3/15, M Rahman 2/29) lost to Rajasthan Royals 150/7 in 19.4 overs (D Miller 62, C Morris 36 not out, A Khan 3/32, C Woakes 2/22, K Rabada 2/30) by three wickets.