if Prithvi Shaw doesn't get you, Shreyas Iyer will, if the captain doesn't, then Marcus Stoinis will. If the batting unit has an off-day, then the bowling attack led by express paceman and wily spinners will get the job done. That's how good Delhi Capitals have been at Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. Another all-round display, this time against Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah has helped them get to the top of the points table as they sit pretty with 10 points in just 6 matches.
Delhi Capitals found a new hero in Shimron Hetymer as the West Indies batsman shone with a late blitz and some stunning catches on the field as Shreyas Iyer's men restricted the Royals to 138-all out -- the lowest total in Sharjah at IPL 2020. An all-round effort from Stoinis and a top-quality bowling effort helped the Capitals boss Steve Smith's men who lacked spite in the chase.
Delhi Capitals, it seemed, posted a below-par total of 184 at the Sharjah Cricket Ground. At the venue that has been known for mis-hits going over the boundary ropes, Capitals' powerful top-order suffered a rare failure but the untested middle-order stepped up and pushed the score to over 180.
Delhi flaunt bowling firepower in Sharjah
Rajasthan Royals had steamrolled oppositions with their batting might before Friday in Sharjah and Delhi Capitals bowlers had their task cut out. However, Ravichandran Ashwin dealt a big blow to Rajasthan when he removed Jos Buttler, this time not by Mankading, but when Shikhar Dhawan took a blinder. Buttler went for 13 as early as the 3rd over and Rajasthan played catch up from thereon.
Steve Smith and young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal added 41 for the 2nd wicket but the latter's slow approach put pressure on the Royals' captain in their 34-ball stand. Shreyas Iyer never took the pedal of the gas as he kept bringing in his strike bowlers. This time Anrinch Nortje stepped up even as Kagiso Rabada was a bit expensive with the new ball. Norje, the express pacer from South Africa, got the big wicket of Smith to jolt the Royals' chase.
All hopes were pinned on Sanju Samson, the man who sent it out of Sharjah stadium with alarming regularity in the two games the Royals played here before Friday. However, his poor run of form continued as Stoinis got a huge breakthrough. Samson has made 4 single-digit scores on the trot after the two blinders in Sharjah as his IPL 2020 campaign follows a familiar story.
Ashwin returned to pick up another wicket as he sent big-hitter Mahipal Lomror before finishing his spell with figures of 2 for 22.
Jaiswal struggled to get going throughout his knock and he was eventually castled by Stoinis for 34 from 36 balls.
Tewatia's lone-battle in vain
Royals needed another Rahul Tewatia special after they were reduced to 90 for 6 in the 14th over but the top 6 had failed badly that even the Sharjah hero found it difficult. Tewatia hit some lusty blows and made xx from xx balls but it wasn't enough.
At the half-way mark, experts had wondered whether 184 was enough but Delhi Capitals made the defence look so easy, sending a stern warning to the rest of the pack at IPL 2020.
Shimron Hetymer stars after rare Delhi top-order failure
Earlier in the day, Delhi Capitals' top-order was jolted by Jofra Archer who sent their openers Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan early with express pace. The table-toppers lost 2 of their big names in the middle order in captain Iyer and Rishabh Pant to run-outs as the Royals, especially Jaiswal, were electric on the field.
Just when they were looking down and out, Marcus Stoinis continued his rich vein of form and hit a 30-ball 39. Shimron Hetmyer, who had got limited opportunities in the first few matches, came up with the much-needed late blitz they needed after walking into bat as early as the 10th over.
Hetmyer hit 45 from 24 balls, smashing 5 sixes as it turned out to be the difference between the two sides. Axar Patel did his bit too by smashing 17 from just 8 balls as Delhi pushed their total past 180 with a strong effort from the lower-middle order that would delight the management.