Karun Nair scored a magnificent 73 off 50 as Rajasthan Royals defeated Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets in their IPL 7 match at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Saturday.
Rajasthan were chasing Delhi's competitive 152 for 5, courtesy opener Quinton de Kock's 43-run blast off 33 balls, while JP Duminy provided the late charge with a 31-ball 39 in their stipulated 20 overs after Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson won the toss and elected to field.
Wayne Parnell dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (12) early in the innings with Murali Vijay pulling off a sensational catch at cover. But the early setback didn't affect Rajasthan's chase as Nair and Samson (34) stitched together 51 runs off 43 balls for the second wicket.
But their promising partnership was cut short by spinner Shabhaz Nadeem off the last ball of the 10th over when he deceived Samson with a tossed up delivery and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik did a good job behind the wicket to reduce Rajasthan to 71 for 2 in 10 overs.
Samson hit two boundaries and a couple of sixes in his 28-ball innings. Rajat Bhatia then joined Nair and the duo picked up sixes off Unadkat and Rahul Sharma over extra cover and long-on respectively as Rajasthan crossed the 100-run mark in the 13th over.
Bhatia was dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the 15th over. But it didn't have any affect as Watson (16) and Nair then finished the job with an unbeaten 41-run partnership off only 21 balls. For Delhi, Parnell, Nadeem and Shami took a wicket apiece.
Earlier, Watson used six different bowlers in the Powerplay, and it was James Faulkner who drew the first blood, dismissing Delhi opener Murali Vijay (13) off a back-of-the-length delivery which was pouched by the skipper at mid-off.
De Kock (42) then did most of the scoring in the first six overs, blasting three fours and a six over the leg-side boundary as Delhi reached 46 for 1 at the end of Powerplay. His 33-ball innings was studded with five fours and one six.
Skipper Kevin Pietersen too should have been back in the hut as he was found short by a throw from wicketkeeper Samson on the second ball of seventh over by Rajat Bhatia. But square-leg umpire Sanjay Hazare didn't refer it to the third umpire, thus giving Pietersen a respite when he was on 2.
However, the umpire's goof-up didn't hurt Rajasthan much as Pravin Tambe had Pietersen (14) caught at long-on by Steven Smith in the 10th over.
De Kock, who was playing well so far at the other end, too ended up giving a simple catch to Tambe as Delhi slipped to 72 for 3 in 10 overs. The twin strike by Tambe brought Dinesh Karthik and Duminy at the crease and they tried to steady the ship with a 24-run stand in 32 balls.
Faulkner was the one who broke the stand when he had Karthik hole out to Stuart Binny at deep square leg in the 16th over.
Kedar Jadhav then joined Duminy in the middle and he brought up the 100 for Delhi with a six which flew off the top-edge. Duminy then picked up a four in the next over bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni. The South African blasted two more boundaries to pile up 11 runs off Kane Richardson. The duo then blasted one four each in the 19th over by Faulkner to accumulate quick runs.
In the last over, Duminy blasted a Richardson ball over square leg for another six but the Australian had his revenge on the next ball itself when Rajat Bhatia took a sensational catch at the boundary line. The pair added 46 off 25 balls.
Duminy smashed four fours and one six. Jadhav then smashed a four and a six to take Delhi across the 150-mark. For Rajasthan, James Faulkner (2 for 26) and Pravin Tambe (2 for 25) were the chief performers with the ball.
(With PTI inputs)