Shikhar Dhawan (43) and Prithvi Shaw (48) took Delhi to 88 off 10 overs; Three wickets in 16 balls slowed their progress but Shimron Hetmyer’s swift 29 helped them to 164; From 55-3 Srikar Bharat (78) and Glenn Maxwell (51) anchored RCB through; Bharat’s maximum gave them a remarkable win
By Max Mathews
Last Updated: 08/10/21 8:26pm
Srikar Bharat smashed a six off the final ball to help Royal Challengers Bangalore beat leaders Delhi Capitals by seven wickets in a pulsating, see-saw encounter in the final group stage match of the competition in Dubai on Friday.
Opening batters Shikhar Dhawan (43 from 35) and Prithvi Shaw (48 from 31) set up the Capitals nicely with an opening partnership of 88, but seamer Mohammad Siraj (2-25 off four overs) held them to 164-5 at the interval.
Anrich Nortje reduced RCB to 6-2 and AB de Villiers was out for 26 off 26, but Srikar Bharat (78 from 52) and Glenn Maxwell (51 from 33) – dropped twice – saw them over the line with a superb unbroken partnership of 111.
It looked like Virat Kohli’s side would need seven off the final delivery, but a costly misfield from Axar Patel off the penultimate ball and a wide from Avesh Khan reduced that to five before Bharat launched a full toss into the stratosphere to snatch victory in exhilarating style.
RCB, starting in third against the leaders, needed to win the toss and bat first to have a chance of overhauling Chennai Super Kings in second and contesting the Qualifier rather than the Eliminator, but opted to field.
Dhawan got his eye in quickly and passed 2,000 runs for Delhi with a big on-side six off Maxwell.
The veteran, 35, looked to have taken an early advantage against gun bowler Harshal Patel, smashing him over the short boundary for six in his first over.
Just before the halfway point Patel, holder of the purple cap for the highest wicket-taker, quickly got his revenge in his 50th game for RCB, enticing the opener into spooning it high into the air with a devilish slower ball to secure his 30th wicket – two behind Dwayne Bravo’s season record of 32.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was smashed for six by Shaw but the very next ball tempted the 21-year-old into a mistimed front-foot drive, before Dan Christian dismissed the dangerous Pant for 10 from 8 as three wickets arrived in just 16 deliveries to stunt Delhi’s progress.
New batters to the crease Shreyas Iyer and West Indian Shimron Hetmyer got off to a bright start with a bludgeoned 16 off Christian’s next over, but Delhi could only reach 164 with a slower second half of the innings despite the Guyanese batter’s 29 off 22.
Live Indian Premier League
October 10, 2021, 2:50pm
Burly South African Nortje dismissed Devdutt Padikkal for a golden duck just five balls into the RCB innings before sending down a 90mph snorter which RCB skipper Virat Kohli (4 from 8) slogged straight to Kagiso Rabada at mid-wicket.
AB de Villiers and Bharat rebuilt from there, with the legendary South African launching a gargantuan 95-metre six over long-on off spinner Ravi Ashwin.
But three balls after Delhi’s strategic timeout, Axar Patel slung a quicker ball through and de Villiers could only pull to deep midwicket one short of the 50 partnership with Bharat, making it 55-3.
Caught cold at just six off nine, Maxwell smashed a ball high but Shreyas Iyer could not take the catch, and the Australian immediately punished the Capitals with successive reverse shots for four before Ashwin dropped him again in the last ball of the over.
Bharat, just after achieving his half-century, walloped Proteas pace bowler Kagiso Rabada for a maximum to leave RCB needing an unlikely 31 off the final three overs.
Nortje conceded just four runs off a wonderfully controlled penultimate over but more mistakes in the field ended up costing leaders Delhi the match in what may be a momentum-killer for Pant’s men going into the play-offs.
Live Indian Premier League
October 11, 2021, 2:50pm
Watch Delhi Capitals take on Chennai Super Kings in Dubai in Qualifier 1 from 2pm, Sunday on Sky Sports Cricket before Royal Challengers Bangalore face Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator in Sharjah from 2pm, Monday on the same channel.
The winner of the Qualifier will progress straight to the final, with the loser facing the winner of the Eliminator for the second spot in the final. The loser of the Eliminator is out of the competition straight away.