A slow pitch, hot and scorching conditions, and superb bowling by Rajasthan Royals saw Delhi Capitals struggle to a below-par 154/6 in their IPL 2021 match at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.
The first double-header of the UAE leg of the IPL was expected to be a cracker of a contest as both Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals had started the second leg on a winning note.
But Delhi found the going tough with the ball not coming out on to the bat and with the temperature hovering around 47 degrees adding to their discomfort. Rajasthan made things more difficult for them with some good bowling as Sanju Samson used his resources intelligently, making scoring difficult for the Capitals.
Shreyas Iyer top-scored for Delhi with 43 and Shimron Hetmyer, who hit some pleasing boundaries during his short stay at the wicket, contributed a quick 28 as Delhi ended with a small total.
Delhi Capitals got off to a poor start as both openers Shikhar Dhawan — who has the Purple Cap — and Prithvi Shaw returned to the dugout with just 21 runs on the board.
Dhawan (8) was the first to go, bowled by Kartik Tyagi as he chopped on to his stumps a delivery that landed at good length on middle and off and did not take off. Dhawan, who cut Mahipal Lomror to the point fence in the second over, tried to tap it but only manages to get the toe end of the bat as the ball bounced before the wicket and rolled onto it.
Shaw too did not last long as he tried to loft Chetan Sakariya between middle and off but only managed to balloon a simple catch to mid-off where Liam Livingstone completed an easy catch.
Delhi managed only three boundaries in the first eight overs in the hot and breezy conditions in the first afternoon start in the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
Shreyas Iyer and Pant resurrected the innings with the Mumbai batsman lofting Rahul Tewatia into the stands over his head for the first six of the Delhi Capitals innings. Iyer singled out Tabraiz Shamsi for similar treatment, backing off to leg to make room and then swat the ball over extra cover for a maximum as they reach their 50 partnership.
With Iyer and Pant trying to cut loose, Rajasthan skipper Sanju Samson made an inspired bowling change and brought in left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman. And the Bangladesh pacer broke the dangerous partnership by getting Pant to chop on to his wicket a fullish delivery wide outside off. Pant got out for a run-a-ball 24 (4×2) at a time when Delhi were looking to pick up the scoring rate.
Iyer too was out soon as Delhi slumped to 90/4 in the 14th over. Tewatia brought in after a short break struck on his second delivery, drawing Iyer out by tossing it up and throwing it a touch wide. Iyer fell for it only to see the ball spin across his blade as Samson whipped the bails off. Iyer was out for 43 off 32 balls, hitting one four and two big sixes.
Hetmyer took on the Rajasthan bowling as he blasted Sakariya for two boundaries in his third over and then meted the same treatment to Tyagi off successive deliveries and took them past the 100-run mark. But Samson brought Mustafizur with four over remaining and the Bangladesh bowler struck off his second ball as Hetmyer tried to carve out a yorker, only to spoon it to Sakariya at short third man.
Delhi eventually crawled past the 150-run mark for a below-par score.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 154/6 in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 43, Shimron Hetmyer 28, Rishabh Pant 23; Mustafizur Rahman 2/22, Chetan Sakariya 2/33).