IPL2019: Delhi Capitals after 7 years in playoffs - SportsGuru

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

IPL2019: Delhi Capitals after 7 years in playoffs

Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer wore a huge smile after leading his team to the IPL playoffs after seven years. He had a smile too when he had won the toss on a slow Kotla pitch, knowing that with a decent total on the board, his team had the wherewithal to get the better of the bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 16-run win took Delhi Capitals to the top of the table (before the result of the KKR-MI match) with 16 points, and with two games in hand, they have a good chance to finish in the top two.

While DC was rejoicing, it was virtually the end of RCB's chances to make it to the playoffs, a sad end for a team led by India captain Virat Kohli and possessing a fairly decent batting line-up. That famed batting came apart on the slow Kotla pitch after Kohli and AB de Villiers could not produce big knocks. Both had begun promisingly but fell to smart catches on the boundary in pursuit of the big shots. After their departure, it was just a matter of time, and though Marcus Stoinis tried gamely till the end, it proved too big a challenge.

Iyer has led the team from the front, coming good with the bat and handling his resources well under coach Ricky Ponting and mentor Sourav Ganguly. "We can't relax and become complacent. We still have two league matches and then the playoffs. We need to maintain the same intensity till the end," the jubilant skipper said. The top three Delhi batsmen yesterday laid the foundation and Sherfane Rutherford and Axar Patel made a strong finish to take the total to 187.

Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw were off to a flyer with 35 in just 3.3 overs. Then, Dhawan and Iyer furthered the cause with some excellent batting. Having reached 100 in the 12th over, DC looked comfortably placed but a mini-collapse saw them struggle in the middle overs.

In the last three overs, Rutherford and Axar picked up 46 runs off 19 deliveries as RCB used pacers on the slow pitch. Rutherford played some breathtaking strokes, including a one-handed slash over a point to send the final delivery sailing into the stands. He scored an unbeaten 28 from just 33 deliveries and Axar had 16 from nine. Rutherford said: "The coach [Ponting] said 'just go and back yourself'. And that's what I did. I backed myself to go for the big shots and they came off. We thought 170 was a good total on this pitch. so we got 17 more."

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