Bowling, for the Delhi Daredevils, has been the primary cause of concern right through their campaign so far in this season of the Indian Premier League. The bowlers’ inability to click collectively and consistently scalp wickets has left them languishing at the bottom of the table. Barring an occasional good spell, there have been no notable contributions.
On Thursday, against the batting might of the Rajasthan Royals, the Daredevils disappointed once again. Toothless bowling and erroneous fielding helped the Royals score a challenging 201 for six in 20 overs. In reply, the Daredevils were staring at a big defeat. Skipper Kevin Pietersen deciding to open the innings helped neither his form nor did it change the team’s run of defeats.
The Daredevils tinkered with their bowling attack again. India pacer Mohammed Shami was rested and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem was included in the playing XI.
The Royals openers Karun Nair and Ajinkya Rahane, measured in the approach, attacked only deliveries that offered width. The Royals top-order stitched partnerships that kept the run-rate steady. Kevon Cooper, promoted to No 3, stuck to his directive as a pinch hitter. The burly Caribbean flexed his arm to for a 16-ball 32 to ensure the bowlers never settled down. Rahane anchored the innings with a knock of 64 (50 balls, 8x4, 1x6) and played second fiddle to Cooper, and later Sanju Samson (40 runs, 25 balls, 2x4, 3x6) chipped in.
For the second time this season and against the same opponents, Delhi Daredevils skipper Pietersen survived a run-out. Pietersen was short of his ground in the third over after substitute Unmukt Chand’s throw from point hit the stumps. Umpire S Ravi did not refer the decision to the third umpire but replays showed KP was short.
Rajasthan Royals: AM Rahane, KK Nair, SV Samson, STR Binny, SPD Smith*, JP Faulkner, R Bhatia, BCJ Cutting, KK Cooper, DS Kulkarni, PV Tambe.
Delhi Daredevils: KP Pietersen*, MA Agarwal, KD Karthik?, MK Tiwary, JP Duminy, KM Jadhav, LRPL Taylor, R Shukla, S Kaul, S Nadeem, Imran Tahir.