We are so used to seeing hard hits, high scores and big run-chases at the Sharjah Stadium that a match with 185 runs on the board seemsed low scoring. The Delhi Capitals who became the first team to set a target less than 200, were successful at defending it with ease courtesy of some great bowling. The exceptional commitment in the field and thoughtful captaincy from Shreyas Iyer also aided the effort as Delhi climbed back to the top of the table on Friday.
Delhi Capitals manage only a 185 on board:
Put into bat by Steve Smith, Delhi scored well in the powerplay but also lost 3 wickets in quick succession. While Dhawan and Shaw fell prey to Archer’s lethal bowling up front, Shreyas Iyer fell short against a brilliant throw from young Yashasvi Jaiswal. Rishabh Pant who followed next could not do much either as he soon followed suit with Delhi struggling 79/4. Despite a healthy scoring rate, the relatively untested middle order found themselves exposed early into the innings. Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer were however upto the task. They played the role of an aggressor alternately with Hetmyer cutting loose only after the former’s wicket.
The resurgence coming in late from the West Indian youngster in company of Harshal and Axar Patel helped Delhi reach a modest total of 185, modest only given the dimensions and the reputation of the ground. Jofra Archer was the pick of the bowlers for Rajasthan picking up three wickets for only 24 runs in his 4 overs, whereas Rahul Tewatia lent him good support with an economical spell in the middle overs.
Bowlers help Delhi make the defense look simple:
Buttler got Rajasthan off to a decent start scoring two boundaries of the Rabada but soon fell prey to the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin. His partner, Jaiswal also struggled to get going. Delhi bowlers maintained a strict line of defense giving Rajasthan batsmen no room to free hands. The boundaries dried up and the required run-rate crept further up. The pressure was now onto Jaiswal and Sith to begin scoring. Smith tried flicking Nortje behind square but held out to a good diving low catch by Shimron Hetmyer in the 9th over. The wicket opened the floodgates for the Rajasthan batsmen as one followed the other back to the dressing room. Each and every bowler who was brought into the attack picked up a wicket, denting Rajasthan’s chances further. They were reduced to 100/7 in the 15th over with minimal hopes of making it through till the target.
A few late fireworks from Rahul Tewatia were however useful to reduce the margin of the loss doing the net run-rate some good. All in all, the Delhi bowlers were exceptional and bowled to their strengths. They were ably supported by some surreal out-fielding and catching display. The win boosted Delhi on the top of the table, making a case for them being ‘The Team to Beat’ this season.
Shreyas Iyer: An impressive captain in the making
Young Shreyas Iyer took over the responsibility of a captain last year and the Mumbai-lad did not fail to impress. He was quick on his feet reacting to the required changes and shuffled his bowlers well. Moreover, he also led the team from the front scoring exceedingly well with the bat as well. His display of command and control as the captain especially on Friday garnered praise. He made the optimum use of the resources and rotated his bowlers to perfection. He was fairly accurate with the field settings too as the team successfully maintained pressure on the opposition throughout the run-chase.
One other aspect of Shreyas Iyer’s captaincy is his ability to get along with both, youngsters and senior players. Delhi group consists of some experienced international campaigners in Ashwin, Dhawan, Rahane, Rabada and a few others. Iyer being phenomenal at striking a cord with everyone has led to Delhi doing well this season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Iyer being a prospect to lead the Indian team in future.