Royals win in a nail-biter of a game

Following Prasidh Krishna’s wicket-maiden, Delhi Capitals needed six sixes off the final over to secure an unlikely victory. The first three balls from Obed McCoy were sent into the stands by Rovman Powell, setting hearts racing. The third ball was a full-toss, and Powell sought a no-ball because he thought it was over waist-height. The umpires disagreed, and the batsman appeared to threaten to leave.

Rishabh Pant, the DC skipper, was gesturing towards Powell from the dugout. In the absence of head coach Ricky Ponting, DC assistant coach Pravin Amre approached the umpires, purportedly seeking an explanation. Powell had lost his rhythm by the time the game resumed, but McCoy had regrouped. DC concluded on 207/8, 15 runs short of Rajasthan Royals’ 222/2, the highest total in this IPL so far.

Buttler’s century

Jos Buttler came to life in the sixth over of RR’s innings. Until then, he had been averaging fewer than a run per ball. It equaled Ravindra Jadeja’s two lost catches against the Mumbai Indians on Thursday as an oddity.

Buttler had been bothered by Khaleel Ahmed up front. It was time for a response. It arrived late, after a few of sixes. In white-ball cricket, Buttler moves like a Ferrari, but in the longer format, he becomes a car with flat tyres. He is having his best season in the IPL, scoring century for the enjoyment of it. He followed up his 103 against Kolkata Knight Riders with a 65-ball 116 against DC on Friday, which included nine fours and as many sixes. In this edition, his third century brought his total to 491 runs in seven matches. It is his to lose the Orange Cap.

The way he demolished the spinners was the highlight of his innings. Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel led the attack for DC, with Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel driving the attack. Buttler was only playing with them that night.

Kuldeep was having a fantastic IPL season. But, with the Wankhede pitch failing to help, Buttler donned his dance shoes to dismantle the chinaman bowler on Friday. He sliced the loop by skipping down the track and hitting a six. He shimmied down the pitch once more and hit a straight boundary four. Buttler intended to limit Kuldeep’s range, and the two shots did just that. It shattered the spinner’s self-assurance.

Buttler treated Axar with contempt when he was having a bad day, reverse-sweeping the left-arm spinner between point and backward point for an exquisite four. Prior to that, he had dispatched Lalit Yadav with ease, and when Kuldeep returned for a second spell, he carried on the momentum with a 15-run victory, featuring back-to-back sixes.

In this scenario, butter has always been a game-winner. He has embraced consistency this term in order to become a ‘Royal’ run-machine. This is great news for his team, but it’s awful news for their rivals. For the neutrals, his hitting has been the tournament’s joy de vivre — the daring with which he swept Mustafizur for a four was magnificent.

Consider Devdutt Padikkal’s return to form, which was a double delight for the Royals. Buttler performed the role of elder partner in the first five overs, when he was still getting into his power-hitting groove. Three straight fours against Mustafizur, the first with a little of luck, provided the spark his side needed. Padikkal had been trying to find his stride until this game. On Friday, he looked every bit the player worth his Rs 7.75 crore price tag, scoring a 35-ball 54. Sanju Samson contributed generously towards the end with a 19-ball 46 not out, after his 155-run opening partnership with Buttler wore DC out.

Krishna’s bowling

The Royals needed Krishna to step up and be counted on a night when Trent Boult went for broke. The pacer had the crucial wickets of David Warner and Pant, but it was his final over that sealed the victory.

David Warner, Prithvi Shaw, and Pant, DC’s batting stars, had all left the team. Lalit Yadav’s cameo, on the other hand, brought the game to the final overs. Powell was with him, but the asking price continued to rise. When the penultimate over began, it had reached 18. Yadav was dismissed by Krishna, who returned with a wicket-maiden. Regardless of the theatrics at the end, that was the game. Krishna finished with a four-over batting average of 3/22. Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, likewise, bowled admirably under difficult conditions.