Delhi Capitals registered a thrilling win over Rajasthan Royals and reached the top spot on the points table. Delhi have underachieved from the very first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Delhi fans would be delighted that their team has climbed to the top of the pile.   

Delhi’s young captain Shreyas Iyer won the toss and elected to field on a good batting wicket in Jaipur. Rajasthan Royals got off to a poor start as Sanju Samson, who came out to open with Ajinkya Rahane, got run out in the second over of the innings, without facing a ball. 

However, Rahane and captain Steve Smith added 130 runs for the fifth wicket and put the home team in a very strong position. Rahane got back into form and smashed his second T20 hundred. He batted in his old free-flowing style and scored 105* runs off 65 balls. His innings included 11 fours and three sixes. Smith also batted well and scored 50 runs off 32 balls. 

But the Rajasthan middle-order couldn’t contribute much and it resulted in 8-10 fewer runs than what fans and pundits were expecting at around the 15-overs mark. However, Rahane kept scoring from one end and took the Royals to 191. 

In reply, Delhi Capitals got off to a good start as Shikhar Dhawan took Royals’ bowlers on and scored boundaries and sixes all around the park. Dhawan took on Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat and added 72 runs with Prithvi Shaw for the first wicket in 7.3 overs. The stylish left-handed Dhawan took advantage of the medium pace of Kulkarni and Unadkat and scored 54 runs off 27 balls to put Delhi Capitals in charge while chasing a big total. 

After Dhawan’s wicket, Delhi captain Iyer also fell quickly and that brought Rishabh Pant to the crease. Shaw, at the other end, batted cautiously and scored 42 off 39 balls. 

Pant was under pressure after a couple of failures but he showed no nerves and played one of the best innings of his IPL career. The young wicketkeeper-batsman took on almost every Royals bowler and scored an unbeaten 78 off just 36 balls to guide Delhi Capitals home.

Let’s put on the captain's hat and try to figure out why Rajasthan Royals lost.

1. Jofra Archer held back for too long

Smith made a big mistake by not using Archer early on against Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw.  

Dhawan made full use of the new ball and fielding restrictions by taking the Rajasthan bowlers on. Archer came in to bowl in the fifth over and it was a very defensive move by the Rajasthan captain. 

Dhawan is the most experienced and in-form batsman of Delhi Capitals and Smith should have given the ball to his best bowler Archer right at the start of the innings to attack the openers and break the back of Delhi Capital’s run chase. 

2. Poor planning and field placement against Pant 

We all know that Pant likes playing his shots on the on-side and he scored a big chunk of his runs on that side, thanks to big sweeps and scoops. The fielder at deep square leg should have been much finer when Pant was batting because not all of his sweeps and scoops went for sixes and those runs could have been saved. 

Also, Archer came around the stumps to Pant and tried to angle the ball into him, and this is exactly what Pant likes because he can play his ramp shots and scoops much more effectively and easily from that angle. 

The communication between the Rajasthan bowlers and captain was clearly missing and this allowed Pant to play his natural game and score freely, especially on his preferred on-side.