DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Delhi Capitals used the pace of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada to earn a 13-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Nortje (2-33) claimed the key wickets of Robin Uthappa (32) and Jos Buttler (22) and together with Rabada (1-28) tied down hard-hitting Rahul Tewatia in the end to restrict Rajasthan to 148-8.
Delhi had earlier scored 161-7 on the back of Shikhar Dhawan’s second successive half century as the left-handed opener scored 57 and captain Shreyas Iyer added 53.
“On a slow wicket it is difficult to make up runs in the end,” Rajasthan skipper Steve Smith said. “Guys kept getting in and kept getting out, and not making 60-odd (runs) to see us through."
In a game dominated by pace bowlers, Jofra Archer had earlier clean bowled Prithvi Shaw off the first ball of the match, to finish with figures of 3-19.
But Delhi showed that they have the capability to defend small totals with the likes of Nortje and Rabada in their bowling armory.
English duo Buttler and Ben Stokes (41) provided a rollicking start for Rajasthan by smashing 37 runs in the first three overs. But once Buttler was castled by Nortje and Smith (1) offered a tame return catch to offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Delhi kept striking at regular intervals.
Smith had scored back to back half centuries in the first two games at Sharjah, but since then the Australian has scored just 44 runs in the next six games and has struggled on the slow surfaces of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Stokes, playing in only his second game this season, hit six fours before he was outdone by seamer Tushar Deshpande’s slow delivery and holed out in the deep midway through the Rajasthan run-chase.
Sanju Samson (25) and Uthappa kept Rajasthan in the hunt before Samson was clean bowled by leftarm spinner Axar Patel in the 12th over and Nortje clean bowled Uthappa in the 18th over.
Tewatia, who had earlier played two magnificent knocks in the tournament, couldn’t attack against the fiery pace of Nortje and Rabada in the end and remained unbeaten on 14 off 18 balls as Rajasthan lost their fifth game in the tournament.
Delhi now sit on top of the table with 12 points after winning six of their eight games.
Rajasthan are languishing in seventh place with six points as they have won just one out of their last six games. They started the tournament with back to back wins at Sharjah but since then their top order batsmen have struggled.
“We are not in a great position, are we? We have got to quickly move on and come back with a big game in three days time," Smith said.
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