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3rd May 2014

Karun Nair sails Rajasthan Royals to victory vs Delhi Daredevils

Shane Watson won the toss & asked Delhi Daredevils asked to bat on a pitch that is expected to be not too different from the slower ones in the UAE. He said at the toss that the pitch was only chosen a couple of hours before the start of the match, so he wanted to bowl and see how it played. Royals made one change to their line-up, bringing in seamer Dhawal Kulkarni in place of Iqbal Abdulla. Daredevils’ only change reflected an opposite strategy; they brought in legspinner Rahul Sharma in place of medium pacer Laxmi Shukla.

On a pitch that was hard to defend scores, captain Pieterson expected batsmen to perform better; but they were able to post only 152/5 in the first innings thanks to brilliant work done by RR bowlers.

DD’s openers started off very well scoring at 8 RPO for the first 4 overs. In came Faulkner in the fifth over to stop this rampage. Repeating his feat, Jimmy picked up a wicket in the first ball removing Murli Vijay for 13 runs. However, that did not stop Delhi boys from scoring fast runs. FOURS were hit at regular intervals which kept the scorecard ticking at the fast pace.

In the sixth over, a faulty decision by the square leg umpire gave skipper Pieterson another lifeline. However, he could not do much damage to RR. Pravin Tambe struck in the 10th over removing both in-form batsmen Pieterson & de Kock. After 10 overs, DD: 71/3. Q de Kock was the highest scorer for DD with 42 runs from 33 balls.

JP Duminy continued to score, however slowly, for his team & Karthik supported him. Faulkner once again helped RR by picking up Karthik’s wicket in the 16th over; but that sort of helped DD. In came KM Jadhav who paced the runs in-flow. Together they scord 46 runs from just 15 balls which was also the highest partnership for the team.

It was going perfect for the team, when in the final over, Duminy tried to swing it away for a SIX only to find Rahat Bhatia taking a sensational catch running across the field. Jadhav was on strike to face the last 3 deliveries. And he ended it perfect! SIX, FOUR & a SINGLE. Delhi Daredevils smashed 40 off the last three overs. Kedar Jadhav had been brilliant and JP Duminy had a little hand in it as well. But Rajasthan Royals were not too trifled by this target as it was back to back 152 games for them.

It was going perfect for the team, when in the final over, Duminy tried to swing it away for a SIX only to find Rahat Bhatia taking a sensational catch running across the field. Jadhav was on strike to face the last 3 deliveries. And he ended it perfect! SIX, FOUR & a SINGLE. Delhi Daredevils smashed 40 off the last three overs. Kedar Jadhav had been brilliant and JP Duminy had a little hand in it as well. But Rajasthan Royals were not too trifled by this target as it was back to back 152 games for them.

Watson joined Nair towards the end of the innings and hit a couple of sixes too, but his – or his team management’s – decision of sending Bhatia ahead of better batsmen proved to be one of his more effective strokes. Bhatia can bat, but he has never played as high as No. 4 in the IPL. His cross-batted slogs were not the most pleasing to the eye, but just like his bowling, his stand of 44 runs in five overs with Nair quickly deflated Daredevils bowling, especially with the danger of Watson looming.

Rajasthan Royals produced one of their better batting performances this season to keep pace with the two table leaders and no, the starring roles didn’t feature Ajinkya Rahane or Shane Watson or Stuart Binny. There was one steadying hand from Sanju Samson to ensure the middling target was under control and a surprise promotion for Rajat Bhatia, but it was another young batsman, playing only his third game for the franchise, who reaffirmed Royals’ narrative of being a moneyball outfit. Karun Nair, the Karnataka batsman who had scores of 8 and 1 in his previous two outings, was conservative to start with, but opened up in the second half of his innings to hit an unbeaten half-century to sink Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets.

MoM award: Karun Nair for his 73* runs in 50 balls hitting 8 FOURS & 2 SIXES at SR 146.00.

“Any cricketer of my age, like Karun Nair and me, it is a great support to have Rahul sir in the team.” Said Sanju Samson, praising RR mentor Rahul Dravid.

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