DC vs RR: Delhi Capitals beat Rajasthan Royals to go top

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Delhi Capitals are in a league of their own. On form, no other team looks to be as well-rounded and clinical. Rajasthan Royals found out why, losing by 33 runs in a chase of 155 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday afternoon.

There’s a reason why Capitals look head and shoulders above most teams in the IPL, let alone Rajasthan Royals. Save Mumbai Indians, probable Capitals is the only team that has so many players in the lineup who command a place in the first team for their countries. Royals, on the other hand, are packed with players who are still finding their feet in top-flight cricket.

Royals had Mustafizur Rahman, the only established international cricketer in their XI, reading the conditions perfectly while bowling first. But Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin showed their class in bowling on the dry Abu Dhabi pitch with big boundaries.

When Royals bowled first, they looked like they had things under control as the powerful Capitals lineup struggled to get going. Eventually, Shreyas Iyer (43 off 32), Rishabh Pant (24 off 24) and Shimron Hetmyer (28 off 16) paced the Capitals innings near perfectly in such conditions.

Royals seamers Chetan Sakariya and Kartik Tyagi, invested heavily in variations, erred on length and line while spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Rahul Tewatia too were either too short or too full to stop the batsmen from rotating strike. Mustafizur’s seam-up hardlength deliveries harder to get away.

That was enough clue for the Capitals attack. The pacers were back bowling hard lengths at pace while Axar and Ashwin too stuck to the good lengths. It’s evident by now that hard lengths in the line of the stumps are the toughest balls to hit on these dual-paced pitches in UAE. Capitals offered absolutely no room to the Royals batters to manoeuvre. Three wickets and no boundaries in the powerplay nearly killed the match for Royals.

Skipper Sanju Samson played a bizarre innings. His unbeaten 70 off 53 balls isn’t a just reflection of his struggles in the middle. Caught between forcing the issue and steadying the ship on a pitch that was far from being a true one, Samson let the required rate shoot up.

Youngsters Mahipal Lomror and Riyan Parag showed exactly why they aren’t ready to take on an international quality attack. Stifled and rooted to their ends, they looked out of place. By the time Samson got used to the conditions, the required rate had shot past 14 runs per over.

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