The stage was set. The audience were more than ready. It was time. Rajasthan Royals were returning to Jaipur after two long years and the Pink City waited with bated breath to see their champions return home and do what they do best – play cricket. After a rough start against the Sunrisers, the Royals were set to tackle the Delhi Daredevils at their home ground, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, and after a two-year long gap from the tournament – all eyes were on The Royals. However, the match was the subject of an unforeseen break, as rains interrupted the match for more than 90 minutes but the Royals remained undeterred and managed to utilize the less-than-desirable circumstances to their advantage and defeat the Daredevils by 10 runs.
According to First Sport, the Royals managed to overcome the IPL’s usual “win toss and field first” format by defending a total of more than 150 runs. The Daredevils won the toss and made the Royals bat first, going for the afore-mentioned standard formula. 17 overs into the game, the Royals stood at 153 for 5, however the universe had other plans as rains intervened and caused the match to be halted for about 90 minutes – after which, the Daredevils had to chase 71 runs from 6 overs and according to First Sport, this is where Ajinkya Rahane displayed why he was made the captain of the team. He started the innings with a gamble and sent out Krishnappa Gowtham, an off-spinner, to bowl first which resulted in Delhi losing one of their biggest players, Colin Munro thanks to a brilliant run-out by Jos Buttler. This was a huge blow to the opposing side’s morale which made the Royals all the more unrelenting with their attack. Rahane’s strategy was simple and straightforward: bowl slow balls and Yorkers, which meant utilizing bowlers such as Dhawal Kulkarni and Ben Laughlin. The captain also ensured that he didn’t manipulate the fielders too much, which meant that the Daredevils batsmen had no idea what was coming for them. Cricket Country reported that it was this exact strategy was the reason why the Royals were able to build up and maintain so much pressure on the Daredevils, which resulted in a dramatic increase in the required run rate. That, combined with the constant drop in wickets ensured that the Royals came out victorious against the Daredevils.
With two matches down, RR is looking to ensure that the team does well for the rest of the tournament. However, future preparations won’t stop the team from celebrating this well-deserved victory. Speaking about the match to Indian Express, team captain Rahane said, “Good way to start at home. We were thinking that 71 will be little difficult in 6 overs. But we focused on things we could control. But our bowlers did a fantastic job. When we were batting we thought 165-170 would have been a good score. First over from Gowtham was very crucial. T20 is all about starting from zero, whether we win or lose. We will enjoy this win and move forward.”