Bloemfoentein: Defending champions Rajasthan Royals' hopes of making the semi-finals of the IPL suffered a blow on Sunday with their 14-run loss to Delhi Daredevils here.
Delhi, who are already through to the semi-finals, came up with yet another clinical fare to lead the standings with 18 points, three clear of second placed Chennai Super Kings, with two matches in hand.
The road to the semi-finals looks tough for Rajasthan Royals as they have 13 points from 13 matches and are now lying at fifth place. A win here would have boosted them to third place as in the earlier match on Sunday, Kings XI Punjab defeated Deccan Chargers to stay in the top mix.
Chasing 151, Rajasthan Royals managed only 136 for nine with Amit Mishra taking three wickets.
Daredevils' innings revolved around AB devilliers' brilliant unbeaten 79 off 55 balls, studded with eight fours and a six.
Royals top-order once again failed with their top three batsmen back in the dugout in the first seven overs with only 24 runs on the board. Johan Botha (37) and Ravindra Jadeja (24) added 55 runs to steady the innings. Aavishkar Salvi got the breakthrough, dismissing Jadeja in the 13th over to trigger a lower order collapse.
Mishra then took three wickets, two off successive deliveries, to cripple the middle-order.
Danger man Yusuf Pathan was taken out by Farveez Mahroof.
Munaf Patel made a bold attempt, hitting three succesive boundaries in the last over with 28 required, but it came too late.
Earlier, with Daredevils electing to bat, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan added 87 runs for the third wicker after the fall of skipper Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
Munaf Patel (2-39) bowled a tight spell up front to dismiss both the openers in one over.
He stuck onto a spectacular one-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Gambhir and then trapped Sehwag in front in the third over.
Delhi were tottering at 15 for two when Daredevils' most reliable pair - De Villers and Dilshan - came together to revive the innings.
Rajasthan bowlers kept it tight, but a late flurry of shots dashed their hopes of restricting Daredvils to a lower score.
Dilshan departed in the 17th over, bowled by Johan Botha, before Munaf was hammered for 25 runs in the penultimate over, with de Villiers and Dinesh Karthik (23) hitting him for two sixes and two fours.