Led by a robust batting performance that established a firm foundation, Delhi Capitals (DC) registered a 20-run victory against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. This win makes the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 Points Table all the more gripping, as DC now shares 12 points with three other teams.

Batting first, DC openers set the tone on a pitch known for producing high scores in the TATA IPL 2024. RR, having won the toss, opted to bowl first, relying on their batting line-up to chase down any target set by DC. The decision seemed prudent given the batting-friendly conditions, but DC’s top order soon unfolded their plans.

Jake Fraser-McGurk was the star of the opening spell, showcasing his aggressive and entertaining form. He raced to a half-century off just 19 balls, making it his slowest fifty of the season—a testament to his explosive performance throughout the tournament. The highlight of this scintillating effort came in the fourth over when Fraser-McGurk took Avesh Khan for 28 runs, including four boundaries and two sixes.

His fiery innings, however, was cut short by R Ashwin, who had him caught at cover by Donovan Ferreira. Meanwhile, Abishek Porel started steadily and took charge following Fraser-McGurk’s departure. Despite the early run-out of Shai Hope, Porel remained unperturbed, consistently attacking RR’s bowlers. Partnering with Axar Patel, who provided valuable support until the 10th over, Porel ensured a solid foundation for DC.

At the halfway mark, DC had posted 115 for three and were well on their way to a commanding total. In the 11th over, Porel smashed a six off Avesh Khan to reach his maiden fifty in the TATA IPL 2024, achieved in just 28 balls. The middle overs saw a slight slowdown as DC lost a few quick wickets. Porel fell for a well-made 65 off Sandeep Sharma, while Yuzvendra Chahal, who brought up his 350th wicket in T20 cricket, dismissed Rishabh Pant.

Gulbadin Naib and Tristan Stubbs then took the responsibility to steer DC towards the end of their innings. Stubbs in particular was aggressive, scoring a rapid 41 off 20 balls, with three boundaries and three sixes, two of which came in the last over off Sandeep. Chahal, who had been having a stellar IPL season, conceded 21 runs in the 18th over, allowing DC to finish strongly. Impact Player Rasikh Salam added valuable runs towards the end, hitting two fours to bolster DC’s total to 221 for eight.

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In reply, RR needed one of their marquee players to deliver, and it was captain Sanju Samson who rose to the occasion. Yashaswi Jaiswal started the innings with a boundary but was dismissed off the next ball by Khaleel Ahmed. Jos Buttler, brought in as an Impact Player, took time to settle, allowing Samson to take charge of the chase.

Samson began accelerating in the third over, hitting Khaleel for a towering six, marking his 200th six in TATA IPL history. He followed it up with a couple of boundaries and another six off Ishant Sharma. An opportunity for a breakthrough came in the fifth over when Mukesh Kumar induced a skied shot from Buttler, but Tristan Stubbs dropped a crucial catch. Nonetheless, Samson continued to dominate, taking RR past the fifty mark.

Buttler hit two boundaries in the sixth over but was dismissed by Axar Patel, causing celebrations in the DC camp. RR faced a slowdown as Riyan Parag struggled to find the boundaries. By the halfway stage, RR were 93 for two, falling behind the required run rate. Rasikh Salam soon dismissed Parag for 27 in the 11th over, with Samson poised at 49 off 25 balls.

Samson then accelerated, supported by Shubham Dube, who scored a quick 25 off 12 balls. In 11 overs, RR were 103 for three, and in the next 29 balls, the pair added 59 runs, reigniting the chase. Samson continued his aggressive innings, scoring 86 off 46 balls before Mukesh Kumar dismissed him with a brilliant catch by Hope at long-on.

The closing overs were a seesaw battle, with RR getting boundaries but also losing wickets. Shubham Dube was dismissed for 25, attempting another big shot. Ferreira, in his debut IPL innings, fell leg-before to Kuldeep Yadav in the 18th over, which proved decisive as Kuldeep maintained tight lines and conceded just four runs, also getting Ashwin caught at long-on.

With 37 runs required in the last two overs, all eyes were on Rovman Powell. However, Rasikh Salam bowled a superb penultimate over, conceding only eight runs and denying Powell the space to hit big. When Mukesh Kumar bowled Powell off the second ball of the final over, DC effectively sealed their victory, limiting RR to a total well short of the target.

By IPL Agent

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