Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 160/6 (20) lost to Delhi Capitals 161/2 (18.1) by 8 wickets.

Read play-by-play updates here.

A maiden IPL fifty from Ravichandran Ashwin and Devdutt Padikkal’s gritty 48 went in vain as the Royals were faced with a tough loss in their reverse fixture against Delhi Capitals. 

Being put in to bat first, our opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler got off to a cautious start on a challenging batting wicket. Jos fell early but Ashwin walked in at No.3 to maximise the first six overs and made the opportunity count. Together with Yashasvi, he ensured the Royals didn’t lose any more wickets in the Powerplay. Then came Devdutt, playing yet another mature knock to add some more stability to the innings. Although he missed out on a well-deserved fifty, his partnership with Ashwin was instrumental in the Royals getting to the 160-run mark.

The second innings began just the way we would’ve liked. Trent Boult struck on the second ball of the first over, dismissing KS Bharat for a duck as he nicked one to the keeper. But from thereon, a few missed opportunities in the field and some bad luck stopped us from getting those crucial breakthroughs. But credit where it’s due - the Aussie pair of David Warner and Mitchell Marsh batted well to take DC over the line. Yuzvendra Chahal got rid of Marsh towards the end, but by then the game was all but over.

“We need to come back stronger after losing any game in the IPL, and I hope we come back stronger. We have done that in the past,” said Sanju Samson in the post-match conference.

With those motivating words from our captain and a positive approach, let’s take a look at our key takeaways from this encounter:

Ashwin stands tall - with the bat!

The first half-century in the IPL is always special and for Ravi Ashwin, it came just when the team needed it. Having been promoted up the order earlier as well, a confident Ashwin took his time to settle at the crease. And once he had his eye in, some mesmerising shots (and a unique batting stance) took over as he raced away to his fifty in 37 balls. His enterprising knock included four fours, two sixes and a couple of crucial partnerships - first with Yashasvi (43) and then with Devdutt (53).

Devdutt finds form

From playing the anchoring role in the last game to finding his rhythm back in this one, Devdutt Padikkal continues to show his impressive range as a batter. The southpaw dispatched the very first ball he faced, a wide and full delivery outside off for a quick boundary and it set the tone for the rest of his innings. As many as six fours and two sixes highlighted his fiery 48, but it was his reverse sweep six off Axar Patel flying over third man that took the cake! 

Unlucky Yuzi almost gets Warner

Yuzi Chahal’s first over of the night was quite a dramatic one. In the first couple of deliveries, the leggie created back-to-back opportunities by tempting Warner to go for the big shot. Warner caved, but ended up being reprieved on both occasions. On the last ball of the same over, Yuzi bowled a ripper that brushed past the stumps as the opener swung his bat, the bails lit up and went back to their original position in a flash. On any other night, that would’ve been a certain wicket!

Nonetheless, Chahal’s one wicket and overall tally of 23 means that he’s now second on the list of most wickets taken by a Royals bowler in a single IPL season. 

Yes, we were probably 15-20 runs short with the bat, as admitted by Sanju after the match. Yes, there were a few catches that went down, and hanging onto them would’ve helped swing the momentum in our favour. The wicket was two-paced in the first innings but as the game progressed, runs looked easier to come by. But in the end, it all boiled down to the team that batted better and DC were ahead of us in this one. 

If there’s one thing this team knows and abides by, no matter what, it’s never giving up and bouncing back stronger. And with this faith in ourselves as a team and belief in our skills, we’ll be back for our next game on May 15 against Lucknow Super Giants at the Brabourne Stadium.

What did you think of our performance? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or with me, @arey_yaar