Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis' yet another blistering half-century knock followed by some clinical bowling powered Delhi Capitals to the top of the points table following a comprehensive 59-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Dubai International Stadium on Monday. Delhi now sit at the top of the table with eight points after four wins from five matches.
Chasing a target of 195 on what turned out of a turning pitch, Delhi Capitals made an exciting start by picking three wickets inside the powerplay for just 43 runs. Kagiso Rabada created two chances in the first over itself - one was dropped by him, a dolly to precise, the other failed to carry to the fielder at slip. Aaron Finch, the batsman who survived both the chances, provided yet another opportunity off Anrich Nortje, only this time the ball was a lot quicker in travelling to the slip region, than the Rabada opportunity. And minutes later, R Ashwin fired a Mankad warning to the Aussie have caught him miles outside the non-striker's end.
Delhi, shrugging it all off, dismissed in-form batsman Devdutt Padikkal in the third over when he went for a big maximum over mid-wicket against a slower one from Ashwin only to find Stoinis in the deep. Axar Patel, in the following over, dismissed Finch for 13. And even amid the pitch favouring the tweakers, Nortje bounced out compatriot AB de Villiers in the penultimate ball of the powerplay.
Axar and Ashwin proved lethal in the second innings, extracting more off the pitch than RCB spinners managed. The went for 20 more in the first four overs after powerplay. Axar looked to draw the batsman out of the crease with slower deliveries. Virat Kohli had survived early in his knock of 43, but Finch had failed. Washington Sundar did indeed prove to be economical with his four-over spell for 20 runs, but Yuzvendra Chahal and Moeen Ali had proven expensive. Axar had finished his spell with a wicket of Moeen Ali, conceding 18 runs in his spell.
Kohli looked to struggle against the spinners, going at run a ball. But with the asking rate soaring high, and lack of support from the lineup, he went in for a desperate pull against nemesis Rabada. Against a short ball outside off, Kohli shimmied down but ended up getting a thin inside edge through to Rishabh Pant. Kohli, en route to his knock, had become the first Indian to amass 9000 runs, seventh overall and second fastest after Chris Gayle.
Following Kohli's dismissal, it was only a steep fall. Rabada picked up three more dismissing Sundar, Shivam Dube and Isuru Udana to restricted RCB for a paltry 137 for nine.
Earlier in the evening, Stoinis, who was dropped on 30 by Yuzvendra Chahal, made RCB pay for the mistake as he raced to his 53 in just 26 balls, hitting two towering sixes and six fours at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Shaw, however, missed what would have been a well-deserved half-century.
Invited to bat, Shaw provided a blazing start, hitting three fours off pacer Isuru Udana in the game's very first over. His innings was laced with five boundaries and two maximums.
The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan (32 off 28-balls) and Shaw put up a 68-run stand and looked to go the distance before the RCB bowlers made a splendid comeback.
Mohammed Siraj provided the first breakthrough for his team by removing the dangerous looking Shaw.
After Udana accounted for Dhawan, young Devdutt Padikkal pulled off an excellent catch at the boundary to dismiss DC's in-form skipper Shreyas Iyer (11).
Stoinis and Rishabh Pant (37) immediately got into the recovery act. The duo stitched an 89-run partnership. Shimron Hetmyer also played a short cameo, the Guyanese hitting a six in the last over.
Siraj (2/34 in 4 overs) was the most impressive bowler for RCB as he picked the key wickets off Shaw and Pant.
After an expensive first over, Chahal pulled things back but couldn't provide a breakthrough for his team.
Playing in place of Adam Zampa, Moeen Ali (1/21) and Udana (1/40) claimed a wicket each, while Washington Sundar (0/20 in four overs) was the most economical.
(with PTI inputs)