Brief score: Rajasthan Royals 199/4 (20 overs) beat Delhi Capitals 142/9 (20 overs)

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After a close loss in their previous outing, Rajasthan Royals returned to winning ways in the Indian Premier League 2023 with a dominant 57-run win over Delhi Capitals at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati on Saturday.

Opting to bowl on a batting paradise, the Capitals soon regretted their decision as both Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler went hammer and tongs on the bowlers to score at a brisk pace. With the ball coming onto the bat easily, the Rajasthan batters had no trouble accumulating their runs as they posted a mammoth 199/4 in their 20 overs.

In reply, the Capitals struggled from the word go as Trent Boult wreaked havoc in the opening over to send both, the ‘Impact Player’ Prithvi Shaw and Manish Pandey, packing. While the Delhi skipper David Warner (65) tried his best, it wasn’t enough as the Royals notched up a comfortable victory.

Rajasthan’s explosive start

As has been the case in IPL 2023 so far, the Rajasthan batters came out firing and bossed the match from the first ball. A pull, a cut, a glorious drive, and much more; the opening over from Khaleel Ahmed had everything as Yashasvi Jaiswal showed his class to score 20 from it, the most in a first over this season.

Buttler, a mute spectator till then, joined the party soon after; the Englishman taking apart Anrich Nortje with three boundaries. Though Warner tried different combinations - Mukesh Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed from the other end, and even Axar Patel’s spin - nothing went their way as the openers continued their onslaught.

Later, Buttler was given a lease of life after Nortje failed to hold on to a difficult catch while Jaiswal brought up a 25-ball-fifty - his second of the season. The Men in Pink scored 68 in the Powerplay and looked destined for a big score. Jaiswal, though, departed soon while the Royals’ skipper Sanju Samson too didn’t last long. But despite the falling wickets, Buttler continued his run to earn the Orange Cap.

When Hetmyer hits, it stays hit!

He has always spoken about his desire to contribute to the team’s cause in any way he can. And on Saturday, Shimron Hetmyer showed that he meant business when he teamed up with Buttler to take the Royals to a fighting total on the Guwahati track. 

At 130/3 after 15 overs, Rajasthan looked to have lost the momentum after a fine start. But the Caribbean hitman pulled no punches and scored at breakneck speed to take his team to 199/4. Hetmyer targeted the Delhi pacers and hammered them for some huge maximums while also keeping the pressure on the fielders with his quick running between the wickets.

Hetmyer was pivotal in the Royals scoring 69 runs in the final five overs as he, along with Buttler and Dhruv Jurel, didn’t let the Delhi bowlers settle into their rhythm and punished the loose balls with some quality shots.

Boult with the best

With a handsome total to defend, the Royals’ bowlers expressed themselves with confidence. Boult was the first to get into the act and got rid of Shaw in the third ball of the chase. The Delhi opener tried to go for a big hit but instead gave away a thick edge that Samson gathered diving low to his right to complete a spectacular catch that saw head coach Kumar Sangakkara letting out a big grin. 

Manish Pandey followed suit the very next ball while Rilee Rossouw’s stay was cut short by R Ashwin. Though Lalit Yadav showed some resilience, Boult got the better of him in his second spell as he finished the day with an impressive figure of 3-29.

Ashwin, along with his spin twin Yuzvendra Chahal, wrapped up the tail while Sandeep Sharma - playing his first match of the season - got off the mark with the wicket of Nortje for a duck.