Ahmedabad: Rajasthan Royals crushed the struggling Delhi DareDevils by 62 runs in a thoroughly one-sided encounter to consolidate their chances of making it to the playoffs of IPL VII.
Kevin Pietersen completely read the pitch wrong as he invited the Royals to bat. The Royals made best use of the conditions piling up their season’s best score of 201 for six.
Ajinkya Rahane (64), Sanju Samson (40), Kevon Cooper (32) and James Faulkner (23) all made merry against a below par DareDevils attack.
In reply, the DareDevils batsmen never settled on a pitch that got slower with each passing over. They managed only 139 for nine to slump to their ninth defeat, which was also their sixth consecutive loss.
The Royals now have 14 points, four points ahead of their nearest rivals Kolkata Knight Riders, who are on 10.
Manoj Tiwary fought well for his 61 not out, but the DareDevils were never in the game from the first over of the match.
Mayank Agarwal (17) was done in by a slower from James Faulkner as stand-in captain Steve Smith grabbed an easy catch at mid-off.
Dinesh Karthik (3), who was bought for a whopping 12.5 crore, again failed as he mistimed a pull off a slow bouncer from Dhawal Kulkarni to be caught by Ben Cutting at fine leg boundary.
JP Duminy (8) hit Tambe for a six, but the leg-spinner had his revenge with a googly which the South African played into the hands of Karun Nair standing at point.
Pietersen (13) should have been adjudged run-out when he was on three as he was caught short of crease with substitute Unmukt Chand hitting the stumps. But umpire S. Ravi shocked everyone as he didn’t even consult the third umpire just like the now-ousted Sanjay Hazare didn’t against the same team, in Delhi.
Pietersen’s agony increased as the pitch got slower and Rajat Bhatia varied the pace and length. He was ultimately bowled trying a big shot.
Ross Taylor (4) also committed early to a slower delivery giving a simple return catch to Bhatia. Within first 10 overs, the match, as a contest, was as good as over. (PTI)