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Parag comes of age to keep Capitals, and away teams, winless

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Rajasthan Royals 185 for 5 (Parag 84, Ashwin 29, Axar 1-21, Khaleel 1-24) beat Delhi Capitals 173 for 5 (Warner 49, Stubbs 44*, Chahal 2-19, Burger 2-29) by 12 runs

On a night that their big three batters managed 31 off 37 between them, Rajasthan Royals overcame a big conditions handicap through what many feel is the coming of age of Riyan Parag. When the ball seamed and swung, accounting for Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler, Parag played watchfully but turned 16 off 20 into a match-winning 84 off 45.
Despite the Parag assault, Delhi Capitals would have felt confident they could chase down 186 what with the dew and reduced seam movement on offer, but Nandre Burger, Royals’ Impact Player, made early dents with the ball, Yuzvendra Chahal picked wickets, and Avesh Khan and Sandeep Sharma closed out superbly with yorkers and wide lines.

RR batters dance to the ball’s tune

DC’s new-ball bowlers might not have the extreme pace, but Mukesh Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed maximised the early seam movement by bowling areas where they kept attacking the stumps. Even though RR looked to weather the storm, they couldn’t afford to do so for too long lest they batted themselves out of the game.

Mukesh bowled Jaiswal, Khaleel drew an edge from Samson during his third over in the powerplay, and Kuldeep Yadav trapped Buttler lbw on the reverse-sweep. At 36 for 3 in the eighth over, it could be argued decisive damage had been caused already.

Ashwin the batter takes flight

Even as Parag struggled to reach even a run a ball in the first half of his innings, R Ashwin was promoted and he hit three sixes. The idea probably was to delay the introduction of Shimron Hetmyer and, in the process, make sure they didn’t use their Impact substitution on a batter. Not only did Ashwin hold out until the ideal point of entry for the bigger hitters, he hit DC’s best bowlers on paper, Kuldeep and Anrich Nortje, for three sixes. These blows took RR’s run rate past six for the first time. In the 11th over of the innings.

Playing on painkillers and flu medication after three days of illness, Parag took over after Ashwin got out. The switch up started with a pulled six off Kuldeep in the 13th over, continued with 6,4 and 4 in the 15th to somewhat damage Khaleel’s figures, and ended with a glorious takedown of Nortje in the 20th over, which went for two sixes and 25 runs in all. Hetmyer, who started his innings in the 18th over, ended with an unbeaten 14 off seven.

Sizzling Burger worth the wait

It was clear RR were going lengths to get the services of Burger over Powell. The Parag assault in the final third of the innings helped them make their minds up. And Burger immediately vindicated the decision by getting rid of the marauding Mitchell Marsh and Ricky Bhui in the fourth over. On a night that Trent Boult went wicketless, forget taking his usual first-over wicket, Burger made sure RR caused the early damage. Marsh was bowled through swing at high space, and Bhui gloved a bouncer.

Chahal and Co apply middle-overs squeeze

The two big left-arm seamers took on the challenge of bowling inside the powerplay, which also probably meant less pressure on the remaining four bowlers to bowl 14 between them.

David Warner looked threatening, especially with a known asking rate and the conditions generally improving for batting, but then Avesh got him out with a full and wide ball. Pundits have already pointed out his open front foot has opened up the off side on straight balls but has also taken him far away from the ball when it is bowled wide. It seemed here that he took out a fishing pole to reach this one, and the edge flew to Sandeep at short third.
Yuzvendra Chahal then took out two left-hand batters, Risbhabh Pant and Ishan Porel. Ashwin could have ended the match in the 17th over had Boult taken the straightforward catch from Tristan Stubbs, but the reprieved batter made it interesting with three sixes and a four off the next six balls that he faced. However, 22 off 10 is the closest the equation would get for them as Sandeep and Avesh nailed their yorkers and kept making the batters hit into the bigger boundary.



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