IPL: Rahane’s fifty helps Rising Pune Supergiants beat Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets

Rising Pune SupergiantsNew Delhi: Ajinkya Rahane’s 48-ball 63 helped Rising Pune Supergiants defeat Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets to register their third win of the season at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday. Earlier, the hosts posted 162/7 after their batsmen failed to capitalise on their good starts.

The last time Delhi Daredevils played at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, they had four seamers and a spinner in their ranks. After a gap of five days, the home team played on the same ground, this time with four spinners in the team.

Niggles ruled out skipper Zaheer Khan, Quinton de Kock, Chris Morris, and Shahbaz Nadeem from the match, and Pawan Negi, Carlos Brathwaite, Jayant Yadav and Imran Tahir came into the side as their replacements. Rising Pune Supergiants have also been struggling with injuries, and they welcomed Australians Usman Khawaja, George Bailey in a bid to turn their fortunes around. After losing five games batting first this season, MS Dhoni opted to bowl first at the Kotla after winning the toss.

A ‘start-stop’ Delhi innings

Batting first, the home side would have hoped for 180+ at the Kotla, especially after the 186 they scored against KKR here on Saturday. However, they ended 18 runs short of the 180-run mark after none of the top-order batsmen managed to play a long innings. Three batsmen got out in the twenties, while two perished in the thirties as Delhi’s innings went through a ‘start and stop’ phase.

Ashok Dinda castled Rishabh Pant early, but Sanju Samson and Karun Nair formed a 35-run partnership of 20 balls to take the side to 48/1 in the powerplay. When the partnership was looking good, Samson fell to Scott Boland for 20. Another restart was required, and it was given by Duminy and Nair. The same pattern followed, as Nair also fell after making a promising 32.

Wickets fell at regular intervals, but the run rate was never a problem for the home side with batsmen scoring better than a run-a-ball. If that was not enough, Sam Billings and Carlos Brathwaite added the six-quotient to the innings with attractive twenties. But the absence of a long innings from the top-order batsmen, cost the home side some 20-30 runs, which could have pushed them closer to the 200-run mark. They finally ended the innings at 162/7 after scoring 50 in the last five overs.

A stutter in the middle

Another factor that stopped Delhi from posting 200 on the board was the bowling from the Pune side from overs 6 to 10. Just 21 runs came off the four overs with Rajat Bhatia and R Ashwin keeping a tight leash on Karun Nair and JP Duminy. The slow nature of the wicket helped the spin bowlers and with the ball stopping and coming, Bhatia also employed more slower ones. Although Ashwin went for runs later on, Bhatia shined for the MS Dhoni-led side by picking two wickets for 22 runs.

Rahane-Khawaja set the platform for Pune's chase

Chasing has been the recipe behind the success of majority of the teams this season, and one of the ingredients in it is the opening partnership. Usman Khawaja, who came into the side as the replacement for Kevin Pietersen, and the ever-reliable Ajinkya Rahane made it look easy in the middle for the Pune side in their chase of Delhi’s 163. Although there were a few close shouts against the duo in the initial stage, the Indo-Australian pair upped their gear and put together a 59-run partnership for the opening wicket. Khawaja looked good in his IPL debut innings, and made a 27-ball 30 to become the dominant partner of the partnership. Mishra broke the partnership in the ninth over, and outfoxed Khawaja with googly to catch him out the crease.

Rahane keeps Pune going

Although Khawaja fell before the half-way mark, Rising Pune Supergiants’ innings did not had a ‘stop and start’ pattern like the Delhi one. Saurabh Tiwary joined hands with Rahane after the Aussie opener’s wicket and took the team forward with a 45-run partnership. Tiwary, who scored a fifty in the last match, continued his good form and deposited Mishra in the stands in the 11th over to keep the scoring rate healthy. Although Imran Tahir removed the left-hander in the 14th over, Rahane proved to be the difference between the two teams by playing a long innings. The Mumbai cricketer made the most of his start and went past his fifty.

Brief scores: DD 162/7 in 20 overs (Duminy 34(32), Karun 32(23), Bhatia 2/22) lost to RPS 166/3 in 19/1/20 overs (Rahane 63*(48), Khawaja 30(27), Tahir 2/26) by seven wickets