Rahane powers Supergiants to victory over Daredevils: An unbeaten 63 runs off 48 balls studded with 7 fours at a strike rate of 131.35 by the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) star opener, Ajinkya Rahane and his three valuable partnerships for the first three wickets, enabled RPS to register their third win in 9 games in the ongoing tournament.
Putting the home Delhi Daredevils (DD) into bat, the RPS bowlers succeeded in restricting their opposition to 162 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 20 overs. DD, in the absence of their regular skipper, Zaheer Khan, was led by JP Duminy.
Except for the second-wicket partnership of 35 runs in 3.2 overs between Sanju Samson (20) and Karun Nair (32) and later on a 45-run partnership in 5 overs between JP Duminy (34) and Sam Billings (24) for the fourth-wicket, not much of a significant contribution came from other batsmen.
A quick-fire 20 runs off just 8 balls with the help of 3 sixes by Carlos Braithwaite, batting lower down the order, enabled DD to set up a target of 163 runs for the opposition.
For RPS, Scott Boland (4-0-31-2) and Rajat Bhatia (4-0-22-2) were the most successful bowlers, while Ashok Dinda (4-0-34-1) provided the initial breakthrough by removing Rishabh Pant (2) in the third over.
Chasing 163 runs, Rahane had a 59-run in 8.2 overs first-wicket partnership with Usman Khawaja (30), who had walked into the Playing XI, replacing the injured Steven Smith, followed by a second-wicket partnership of 45 runs in 5 overs alongwith Saurabh Tiwari (21) and a third-wicket partnership of 42 runs in 4.5 overs alongwith the skipper, MS Dhoni (27).
Rahane, the only half-centurion in the match, reached the landmark in 38 balls with 6 fours.
The unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 20* runs in one over between Rahane and Thisara Perera (14*) enabled RPS to reach their target with ease. They ended up scoring 166 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in 19.1 overs and won the match by 7 wickets with 5 deliveries to spare.
Rahane remained unbeaten on a well made 63* runs off 48 deliveries with 7 fours and was awarded the Player of the Match.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, he said, “We decided that one batsman has to bat through, and it was my day. First six overs was important, ball was coming on nicely, and then it got slower. Just looking to keep it simple. If I get set, if I get to 15-20 I look to bat deep, that”s what the team wants from me.”
JP Duminy, skipper of DD, upset at the outcome of the game said, “We stumbled a bit in the middle part of our innings, could have had 20 runs more. We did well with the ball to take it to the last over. A few errors, a few missed opportunities, but still a lot of positives to take out of it. [I could have continued with Tahir, but] we”d spoken about Shami bowling the last two overs in the death overs. We only went in with two seamers, so we needed to use the legspinners wisely, so we had to keep Imran for the last eight overs.”
An upbeat skipper of RPS, MS Dhoni said. “The bowlers were bowling to the plan. It felt nice to restrict them to 160. We can take a lot of positives, because it was the bowling we were a little worried about. The execution was much better, they bowled to the field. If you keep the death overs aside, you have to bowl to the field. In the death overs, I feel the good bowlers are those who double-bluff the batsmen. It was a bit uncomfortable in the middle, their spinners bowled well, the wicket got slightly slower, Mishra bowled well, Tahir bowled well, overall it was a well-earned victory for us. When you have lost five games, it”s important to take whatever comes your way. This victory was very much needed, gives us that bit of confidence.”