Despite the late charge from Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer, the Delhi Capitals fell short by 1 run as the Royal Challengers Bangalore returned to winning ways in IPL 2021 in Ahmedabad.
RCB, who go top of the table, were helped by the brilliance of AB de Villiers with the bat and some fine bowling performances leading to their 5th win in 6 games in IPL 2021.
Asked to bat first, RCB started off in their usual fluent manner with Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal looking to attack right from the get-go. The openers raced away to 30 in four overs before Kohli chopped it onto his stumps off Avesh Khan for 12.
Padikkal, off the next delivery in the next over, saw his stumps broken by Ishant Sharma for 17, leaving RCB at 30/2 in the powerplay.
Rajat Patidar and Glenn Maxwell steadied the ship – with the Australian of course being the more aggressive of the two.
Maxwell, who has been in fine form so far, was more than happy to take the aerial route, hitting two sixes and a four during a 20-ball-25, before old foe Amit Mishra had his number yet again.
The duo put on 30 before Patidar was joined by AB de Villiers. Patidar, brought in for Navdeep Saini, kept the score board moving with the singles and twos before ABD settled in.
Patidar played a fine knock off 31 off 22 deliveries before falling to Axar Patel as he looked to go over the top, giving Steve Smith his second catch of the day.
ABD at the other end was taking the spinners on over their head and using Kagiso Rabada’s pace to his advantage, piercing the gaps to find the fence, even as Washington Sundar kept him company.
Avesh Khan continued to bowl well, building the pressure on the batters before Rabada bowled out, finishing with the wicket of Sundar, caught and bowled for 6, as ABD approached his 50 at the other end.
ABD completed his half-century with a rasping pull off Avesh in the penultimate over as RCB looked to him and Daniel Sams for a strong finish.
Marcus Stoinis came in for the last over, much to the surprise of the commentators, and to the delight of ABD, who hammered 3 sixes in that over to push the total to 171/5 with a 23-run final over. ABD remained unbeaten on 75 off 42 deliveries, hitting 3 fours and 5 sixes.
With their eyes on the top of the table, Delhi started off at good pace as Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw were finding the gaps and their timing in the first couple of overs quite comfortably. The duo took Delhi to 23 before Dhawan’s (6) attempted pull over fine leg fell in the hands of Yuzvendra Chahal off Kyle Jamieson in the 3rd over.
Steve Smith started off with a boundary but was dismissed soon after by Mohammed Siraj, who had him caught behind by AB for 4.
Shaw was joined by skipper Rishabh Pant and the duo looked to steady the ship and keep the momentum going. The duo added 19 before Shaw departed, caught behind by AB for 21 off Harshal Patel.
In walked Marcus Stoinis and found himself in a spot of bother against Chahal early in his innings. Pant and Stoinins counter-attacked with a few powerful shots, especially the Australian, keeping Delhi in the hunt with a 45-run partnership.
The Australian, who scored 22 off 17, was the next to depart as Harshal struck again, with ABD completing his 3rd catch of the inning as the contest stayed on a knife edge.
Shimron Hetmyer and Pant were finding it difficult to get the likes of Washington Sundar and Harshal Patel away, causing the required run rate to climb to the region of 15.
Until Jamieson missed three yorkers in the 18th over and Hetmyer hammered him for three sixes, bringing Delhi straight back into it with two overs to go, and Pant for company.
Hetmyer, soon after, completed his fifty, having walked out to bat after Pant, who himself was nearing the landmark at the other end too.
Siraj, however bowled a fantastic final over, as Pant could not clear the ropes and Delhi lost by 1 run.
Pant remained unbeaten on 58 off 48 deliveries, completing his half century in the final over, while Hetmyer was 53 not out off 25 deliveries.