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Win against RR keep DC afloat

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New Delhi, May 7: Delhi Capitals earned a hard-fought 20-run win over Rajasthan Royals to technically stay alive in the IPL play-offs race as home spinners Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav played a key role in the team’s victory in the must-win contest here Tuesday.
Yet again, it was Jake Fraser-McGurk (50) and Abhishek Porel’s (65) coruscating display of power-hitting that took DC to a challenging 221 for eight.
Chasing a stiff target to secure their place in the play-offs, the Royals were going strong but once skipper Sanju Samson (86 off 46 balls) was dismissed in the 16th over, their innings lost momentum. They ended up at 201 for 8.
Wrist spinner Kuldeep (2/25 in 4 overs) and left-arm spinner Axar (1/25 in 3 overs) exhibited impressive control over line and length that did put brakes on Royals’ scoring rate in the middle overs.
The two bowlers gave away just 50 runs in their combined seven overs.
After Tuesday’s win, Delhi Capitals moved to fifth place with 12 points – the same as three other teams – but even if they win their remaining two contests, it will be difficult for them to make the knockout stage as the teams placed above them have better chances of logging 18 points. DC can have a maximum of 16 points.
Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had jolted the Capitals with wickets in his successive overs but pacer Avesh Khan bled runs.
Samson’s stroke-making was a treat to watch, even as Jos Buttler could not make the most of a dropped chance. Samson treated the seasoned pacer Ishant Sharma with utter disdain, scoring easy boundaries off him.
Buttler struggled to get going and was handed a chance when he was on 8 as Jake Fraser-McGurk dropped a high catch off Mukesh Kumar.
The England batter dragged one from left-arm spinner Axar, who displayed the art of containing the batters on a small ground like Kotla.
Kuldeep too had the batters in a tight leash as the asking rate grew. Rasikh Dar cleaned up Riyan Parag after getting hit out of the park.
Samson completed his fifty with a six off Kuldeep and then launched a severe attack on Dar, who leaked 18 in runs in the 13th over of the innings.
Royals needed 91 runs from 42 balls. Debutant Shubham Dube supported his skipper well as he hit a monstrous six off Ishant after hitting a four.
Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed bowled four wides in a row before creating a chance to get rid of Samson, whose lofted shot just fell short of long-off fielder.
However, after the departure of Samson, Royals innings fell apart.
Earlier, had it not been some smart bowling by Ashwin and fellow off-spinner Riyan Parag in the middle overs, DC would have put more runs on the board.
Young Australian batter Fraser-McGurk (50 off 20 balls) continued with his splendid form while Porel contributed 65 off 36 balls. Tristan Stubbs chipped in with a useful 20-ball 41 but skipper Rishabh Pant’s (15) bat did not talk much.
Royals pacer Trent Boult and Sandeep Singh came in with hit-the-deck approach and largely succeeded in not letting home openers swing freely.
Yuzvendra Chahal (1/48 in 4 overs) began with a slightly fullish length and was hammered for six by Porel. Parag, though, did a great job with his off-spin as he managed to keep the batters quiet.
However, DC gathered 65 runs from the last five overs to post an imposing score of 221/8. (PTI)

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