When you need 25 runs off the final over, you know that it’s been a rather hard day in the field. But then, what bothers you the most is that you aren’t totally at fault as the rain played out and impacted the contest in a big way. With these thoughts in mind, clearly, the unhappiest man at the conclusion of the Rajasthan Royals versus Delhi Daredevils contest would certainly have been Gautam Gambhir.
Rain swings it Rajasthan Royals’ way
In what proved to be a great cheer finally for Rajasthan who opened their IPL 2018 account even at the back of a rain-affected contest in Jaipur, proved to be disdain for Delhi. The fan who’s aware of the chances of a team- specially the one that’s chasing in a rain-curtailed event- holding the wrong end of the stick would’ve been reminded of many a misfortune that other sides have faced.
On April 11, 2018, it just didn’t happen to be Delhi Daredevil’s day who were eventually asked to chase 71 off 6. How hurtful and unjust can cricket possibly get, it ought to be asked? Surely, the sight of chasing 12 an over can never evoke a great sense of joy even if a batting outfit boasts of names like Maxwell, Gambhir, Munro and Morris.
Delhi Daredevils find a mountain to climb
But, then, neither was it Rajasthan Royals’ fault, who beautifully recovered having evidenced batting failures of Munro and Stokes once again who failed to give company to the same scorers who kept their scoreboards busy during the previous loss to Sunrisers: captain Rahane and Rajasthan Royals’ old-hand, Sanju Samson.
In making something of an otherwise linear, dull contest, Rahane and Samson backed themselves and produced 45 and 37 respectively, striking 7 boundaries in between. Their efforts to give their team a defendable total were laudable especially because, out of nowhere, Delhi sprang into action by removing their top and middle order cheaply.
To have score 153 then by nearly the completion of the 18th over was neither too stunning nor too marginal from Rajasthan Royals’ perspective. But even then, to have seen strike bowler Jaidev Unadkat bowl the way, he eventually did, even as he removed danger man Rishabh Pant- might have given them a run for their money.
Undakat misses, Laughlin strikes for Rajasthan Royals
Just why would a bowler, on a slippery, unpredictable surface bowl fuller and way outside off with no third-man put in place. With no deep square leg positioned either, at one stage you thought Unadkat was mindlessly assisting a Maxwell and Pant assault. Had it not been for a failed Maxwell strike of Laughlin’s slower ball, when the dangerous Aussie fell for just 17, the game, you thought, may have gone any way.
Thankfully, Unadkat extracted sweet revenge, in removing Pant, even though not stemming from vicious planning and something that was borne out of a huge mistimed heave that became an epic skier, Gowtham latching on to the white ball in the Sawai Mansingh’s flashily lit ground as if his life depended on it.
25 off 6? Was it ever going to be easy?
Needing 4 huge strikes of the final six, you knew who had the momentum and eventually, the game swung back in Rajasthan’s corner as Delhi lost a wicket one too many, even as they made something out of a contest, reaching 60 with the lanky Morris striking a lashing six on the final ball.
For now, as Rajasthan savour their victory, there’s a lot that may be riding in on Gautam Gambhir’s mind- whose team- is yet to open its account in IPL 2018.