Sharjah: RR’s unofficial fort couldn’t come to the rescue of the Royals as Marcus Stoinis(39 and 2/17) stood between the Royals and the win. Powered by Hetmeyer,(45) Stoinis, and Axar’s(17) match-turning innings, DC posted a below-par score of 184 on the board. Owing to uneven bounce and slowness of the wicket, RR failed to chase the 185 run mark at Sharjah which is a relatively smaller ground compared to the other two. Stoinis, Ashwin(2/22), and Nortje(1/25) played a key role in restricting RR from chasing the total.
184 is never too small at Sharjah
RR won the toss and chose to bowl first as in this IPL, any target is chasable at the venue. DC didn’t get the best of the starts as Dhawan was removed early for just 5 runs. Shaw and Iyer let their arms free in the PP but Shaw fell to Archer’s sharp bouncer in the 5th over for 19 runs. Iyer was too dismissed in the next over and new pair Pant-Stoinis couldn’t really up the ante owing to the dual nature of the pitch.
Negligence on the field caused Pant his wicket as he was run out by a timely throw from Vohra. Hetmeyer’s entry brought some energy in DC’s camp as he thrashed DC’s bowlers all round and park and soon Stoinis joined the party. Tewatia spoiled the party as he took a part in dismissing the next three batsmen(one as a bowler and 2 as a fielder). Few blows from Axar at the end took DC to 184.
Ashwin and Nortje star for DC
Although 184 seems easy to chase at Sharjah, dual paced wicket never allowed batsmen to play free. Jaiswal struggled in the initial overs but the initial burst from Buttler didn’t allow DC to dominate them completely. But Ashwin removed Buttler in the 3rd over with a catch at fine leg by Dhawan. One-down batsman Smith had hit a few boundaries but couldn’t accelerate to cope up with the RRR. He was dismissed in 9th over by Nortje who had earlier built up the pressure with economic previous over. Jaiswal’s struggling continued and Sanju too didn’t get going. Sanju’s uncomfortable stay of 9 balls came to an end against Stoinis after he scored 5 runs.
Lormor too didn’t lose long as he was dismissed for 1 run by Ashwin. Jaiswal’s(34 off 36) came to an end in 13th over as he was cleaned up by Stoinis who bagged his 2nd wicket of the night. Tye(6), Archer(2), Gopal(2) formed a queue to the pavilion but Tewatia(38), the lone warrior kept fighting at the other end. Although he couldn’t win the match for his team, his efforts helped RR reduce the losing margin. Finally, RR managed 138 out of their 20 overs and bagged a 46 run defeat to further deteriorate their NRR. They are currently placed 7th on the points table while DC regained its top position after this win.
Ravichandran Ashwin was awarded Man of the Match for his match-winning performance.
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