As DC chased down 153 by six wickets and an over to spare led by clean half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane, suddenly they again looked like a team worthy of finishing second in the table as they moved into the playoffs. RCB, after spending weeks in the top-three, pulled things back just enough at the back end of the chase and ensured they are in the playoffs. It leaves Kolkata Knight Riders hoping Sunrisers Hyderabad lose to Mumbai Indians in the final game of the league stage.
Scorecard | Points Table
Kagiso Rabada, in the mid-innings break, claimed that it was the clear mind and intent of the Capitals bowlers that turned things around for them. Rabada (2/30), Anrich Nortje (3/33) were back in familiar rhythm, hitting the hard lengths at good pace to set the foundation for R Ashwin (1/18) and Axar Patel (0/30) tighten the noose on the RCB batting lineup.
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Dhawan and Rahane near-flawless 88-run second wicket partnership off 65 balls actually marked the difference between the two teams on Monday. The veteran duo, scoring 41-ball 54 and 46-ball 60 respectively, came out with clear intent in the chase, going back to basics of timing and placing the balls without getting into the quintessential freaky shot-making of T20 cricket. Dhawan set the tone with crisp drives up front in the chase before Rahane settled down into a game of immaculate percentage cricket. If anything both of them would be disappointed for playing cheeky shots to give away their wickets and exposing the unsure middle-order consisting skipper Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Capitals management would be relieved Pant and Marcus Stoinis averted another collapse and saw the team home.
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The Dhawan-Rahane partnership was everything that the RCB batting lineup couldn’t do – keeping the nerves of a pressure game at bay. The RCB looked over-eager and anxiety reflected in their strokeplay. Devdutt Padikkal, despite his 41-ball 50, got stuck after the powerplay and skipper Virat Kohli struggled to step on the gas in his knock of 29 off 35. Once again they were left desperately hoping AB de Villiers went berserk. The ‘Superman’ of T20 cricket did show a glimpse with his 21-ball 35 but the back-in-form Capitals pace attack proved too much for RCB.
As the chase began, RCB’s most consistent pacer Chris Morris showed the nerves to them as he missed his line and length. Dhawan and Rahane negated the new-ball threat and then smothered the spin-heavy RCB attack led by Yuzvendra Chahal.
At the end of the day, it’s the Capitals who go into the playoffs as the more assured team with two shots at a spot in the IPL final.