Helped by a stunning Deepak Hooda’s 24-ball 54 and Ajinkya Rahane (47) Rajasthan Royals inflicted a 11th consecutive loss on Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a three-wicket win at the Ferozeshah Kotla . Daredevils, who had lost nine consecutive matches in the last edition and the first match of this edition, scored 184/3 in 20 overs. They got the bulk of their runs through openers Mayank Agarwal (37 in 21 deliveries) and Shreyas Iyer (40 in 30 balls). Skipper Jean-Paul Duminy (not out 44), Yuvraj Singh (27 runs in 17 balls) and Angelo Mathews (not out 27 in 14 balls) provided a late spark.
In reply to the big target, Royals struggled till the 19-year-old Hooda came and hit four sixes and three fours. They achieved the target with three wickets in hand. Rahane held the innings together but Sanju Samson (11), stand-in skipper Steven Smith (10), Karun Nair (12-ball 20) and Stuart Binny (1) departed without any major contributions. Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra used his variations to perfection as he removed Smith and Nair. Mathews accounted for opening batsman Samson while South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir trapped Indian batsman Binny in front of the stumps.
Tahir had his brace after bowling out Rahane to puncture the Royals chase even though Hooda continued to hammer the Daredevils bowlers. Manoj Tiwary not only dropped Hooda on 31 on the midwicket boundary but also allowed the ball to go for a six and it proved costly for the Dardevils.
Later, Tahir removed Hooda and big-hitting James Faulkner (11-ball 17) to take Dardevils closer to a victory.But Royals, needing 13 off the final over, got over the line as Tim Southee hit a four when they required three in the final ball of the match. With this loss, Daredevils matched the maximum losing streak in the IPL. Now-defunct Pune Warriors India had lost 11 matches in an earlier edition.
Earlier, Agarwal got the Daredevils off to a flying start as he cracked 37 in just 21 deliveries. His knock included six fours and one six. The Karnataka right-hander attacked the Royals pace bowlers. After showing his intent with a daring pull off New Zealander Tim Southee, he followed it with a flick off Chris Morris in the second over. When Southee returned, Agarwal got onto the front foot and drove over the cover boundary for a six.
Royals skipper Smith removed Morris and brought in Dhawal Kulkarni and the Mumbai pacer was treated with similar disdain. Agarwal collected four fours that helped Daredevils score 44 runs in only four overs. However, leg-spinner Pravin Tambe pulled the plug on Agarwal’s innings with the batsman offering a return catch to the bowler. After a couple of quiet overs, Iyer blasted Tambe for a six and a four towards the long-on boundary before offering a catch to Southee off Morris. Iyer made 40 in 30 deliveries.
At 93/2 after 11 overs, 2015 IPL’s costliest buy Yuvraj — at Rs.16 crore — joined Duminy in the middle but perished after scoring a 17-ball 27. Yuvraj not only falied to get abig score after start in the field too he was sloppy missing a easy run- out . Ace Sri Lankan all-rounder and skipper Mathews, who was picked in the XI ahead of in-form Albie Morkel, justified his selection as he fired 27 in 14 balls.
Along with Duminy, Mathews and Yuvraj ensured that Daredevils posted a challenging total but in the end, it was not enough.