Delhi Capitals needed some daredevilry from their bowlers after Mohammed Shami’s burst had limited them to 130/8 on Tuesday and the bowlers stood up and delivered.
Each of the Capitals bowlers contributed to help them steal a five-run win over Gujarat Titans at the Motera in Ahmedabad.
For the Capitals, they needed to win all of their remaining games in order to keep their playoffs prospects alive. They are still at rock bottom, but David Warner and his teammates can certainly breathe a little easier for the moment.
The Capitals batters’ lack of application and inability to show urgency made it a worst-possible start (23/5 after five overs) for the team, till Aman Hakim Khan (51 off 44 balls) and Ripal Patel (23 off 13 balls) stepped up to take the team total to 130. For Aman, this was his maiden T20 fifty.
Delhi Capitals’ Ishant Sharma after dismissing Vijay Shankar, one of his two wickets, during the match against Gujarat Titans at the Motera stadium on Tuesday. PTI picture
However, the Capitals quicks — Ishant Sharma (2/23), comeback man Khaleel Ahmed (2/24) and Anrich Nortje (1/39) — reduced the Titans to 26/3 after five overs before Kuldeep Yadav (1/15) picked up David Miller, who played a nothing shot.
The Titans were 32/4 in the seventh over, but captain Hardik Pandya (59 not out) and Abhinav Manohar fought back, preferring to take the game deep. Fortunately for the Capitals, Khaleel returned to break the stand by dismissing Manohar.
The Titans needed 37 off 17 then, and the Capitals bowlers continued to stick to their tight lines and lengths, leaving 33 off the last two overs for the defending champions. It was then that the calm Rahul Tewatia slammed Nortje for a hat-trick of maximums, making the equation much more achievable (12 off 6 balls) in the deciding over.
But that’s when Ishant, who had cleaned up the in-form Vijay Shankar in his first spell, brought his experience into play. Ishant bowled a dot ball when the Titans needed nine off the last four balls and off the next delivery, he hit the right area and varied his pace just a bit to have Tewatia (20 off 7 balls) holing out.
Ishant made sure not to err on the last two balls. Skipper Warner and the rest in the Capitals camp were all elated.
Importantly, the Capitals bowlers didn’t allow the set Titans captain Pandya a single maximum in his 53-ball knock.
In the end, one can only feel for Shami (4/11), who’s warming up well for the bigger assignments ahead.
He now has 17 wickets in this IPL and bagged the Purple Cap (which goes to the highest wicket-taker) for having a far superior economy rate than Chennai Super Kings’ Tushar Deshpande, also with identical number of scalps.
Shami certainly deserves due credit for bowling an excellent line and making good use of the seam right through.
Shami struck off the first ball of the game on Tuesday and then removed Rilee Rossouw, Manish Pandey and Priyam Garg with the line outside off-stump. In other words, Shami rendered all these three batsmen clueless with the line he bowled.
In the end though, it was-n’t enough.