|Karun Nair, at the Kotla, on Saturday
New Delhi: Young Karun Nair cracked a brilliant unbeaten half-century to guide Rajasthan Royals to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in Saturday’s IPL VII tie, here, at the Kotla.
Nair anchored the Royals’ run-chase with 50-ball 73, laced with eight boundaries and two sixes. The 22-year-old added 51 runs off 43 balls for the second wicket with Sanju Samson (34) as the Royals overhauled the target with nine balls to spare.
Earlier, opener Quinton de Kock blasted 42 off 33 balls at the top, while JP Duminy provided the late charge with a 31-ball 39 and Kedar Jadhav hit a 14-ball 28 to power the Daredevils to a competitive 152 for five in their stipulated 20 overs.
Defending 152, Wayne Parnell dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (12) early in the innings with Murali Vijay pulling off a sensational catch at cover. But the early setback didn’t affect the Royals’ run chase as Nair and Sanju played out fluently for the second wicket.
But their promising partnership was cut short by Shabhaz Nadeem off the last ball of the 10th over when he deceived Sanju with a tossed-up delivery to reduce the visitors to 71 for two in 10 overs.
Rajat Bhatia then joined Nair and the duo hit sixes off Jaydev Unadkat and Rahul Sharma over extra cover and long-on, respectively, as the Royals crossed the 100-mark in the 13th over.
Bhatia was dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the 15th over. But it didn’t have any affect as Shane Watson (16) and Nair then finished the job with an unbroken 41-run partnership off only 21 balls.
For the DareDevils, Parnell, Nadeem and Shami took one wicket each.
Earlier, Watson used six different bowlers in the Powerplay and it was James Faulkner who drew first blood, dismissing opener Vijay (13) off a back of a length delivery, pouched by the captain at mid-off.
Young De Kock did most of the scoring in the Powerplay, blasting three fours and a six over the leg side boundary as Delhi reached 46 for one in six overs. His 33-ball innings was studded with five fours and one six.
DareDevils skipper Kevin Pietersen, too, should have been back in the hut, as he was found short by a throw from the wicket-keeper in the second ball of the seventh over by Bhatia. But square-leg umpire Sanjay Hazare didn’t refer it to the third umpire, thus giving Pietersen a respite when he was on 2.
However, the umpire’s goof-up didn’t hurt the Royals much as Pravin Tambe had Pietersen (14) caught at long-on by Steven Smith in the 10th over. De Kock, who was playing well so far at the other end, too, ended up giving a simple catch to Tambe on the last ball as the hosts slipped to 72-3 in 10 overs.
The twin strike by Tambe brought two newman — Dinesh Karthik and J P Duminy — at the crease and they tried to steady the ship with a 24-run stand in 32 balls.
Faulkner was the one who broke the stand when he had Karthik holing out to Stuart Binny at deep square-leg in the 16th over.