New Delhi: Kevon Cooper bowled a brilliant final over to guide Rajasthan Royals to a five-run victory over Delhi DareDevils in a thrilling IPL match, here, on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 166, Delhi batsmen failed to get 22 runs off the final three overs to finish at 160 for six at the Kotla.
David Warner’s superb innings of 77 went in vain as the hosts lost their second match in a row, having beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match.
Needing nine runs off the final over, Cooper bowled at a tight line, conceding only three runs. He also took the wickets of Andre Russell and Johan Botha.
A six off the final delivery was all that Delhi required but Cooper bowled a full-length delivery just outside off-stump. Naman Ojha tried his best but failed to connect the ball.
The match, which seemed to have slipped out of the hands of the Royals, was turned on its head by Australian Brad Hodge whose brilliant piece of fielding led to the dismissal of Warner.
Warner, who till then looked like anchoring the DareDevils chase to perfection, was run-out in the penultimate over as Hodge effected a direct throw from the cover region. Such was the effect of that dismissal that DareDevils completely lost the plot during the final nine deliveries of the match.
Warner hit nine fours and a big six off Siddharth Trivedi in his 56-ball knock. He shared an important 67-run third wicket partnership with young Manprit Juneja (20) as the home team did not look like facing any major hiccups in the chase.
But, when it mattered the most, unheralded Rahul Shukla and Cooper did the simple things well to help their team start off on a winning note.
Warner got off to a sluggish start, taking 12 deliveries for his first four runs but as the innings progressed he opened up to play some smashing shots. He got a couple of reprieves on individual scores of three and 57 as Rahul Dravid and Rahul Shukla dropped him.
Delhi started their run chase cautiously as Warner shared an opening stand of 39 with opener Unmukt Chand (23 off 34 deliveries). Mahela Jayawardene (19) got out cheaply as Ajinkya Rahane pulled off a stunner at point to dismiss the Delhi batting mainstay off the bowling of Shukla.
For Royals, Cooper returned with figures of three for 30 in his four overs while Sresanth (1/18) and Rahul Shukla (1/27) got one wicket each.