In a controversial finish to the high-scoring Match No 34 of the ongoing Indian T20 Cricket League, Rajasthan defeated Delhi by 15 runs as their victory was powered by a third century of the season from Jos Buttler and a brilliant half-century from their opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal.
Rajasthan, who were invited to bat first, came out firing on all cylinders at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday night to score 222/2 from their 20 overs, propelled by a stunning opening stand between Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal which was of 155 runs.
In their reply, Delhi were restricted to 207/8 despite any of their batsmen going past the 50-run mark. Prasidh Krishna was the pick among the bowlers for Rajasthan against Delhi, returning with an impressive spell of 4-1-22-3 while spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin took 2/32 from his 4 overs. Among the other wicket takers for Rajasthan were leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and the young Obed McCoy, who both took 1 wicket each.
The star of the night on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai was is the English wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who scored his third century of the season, recording the highest individual score by any batsman in the tournament so far. Jos Buttler scored 116 from 65 balls in an innings that lasted nearly 2 hours, while smacking 9 sixes and as many boundaries.
Jos Buttler was well supported by the Indian left-handed opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal, who bounced back from a string of poor performances with the bat to score a crucial 54 from 35 balls, studded with 7 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal also put on the best opening stand for any team in the ongoing team tournament across venues in Mumbai and Pune. The Rajasthan opening pair was separated on the first ball of the 16th over when Mustafizur Rahman trapped Devdutt Padikkal leg-before.
Sanju Samson came out ahead of the other Rajasthan batsman and justified his move of batting higher than some of the other big hitters like Shimron Hetmyer and Riyan Parag by smacking an unbeaten 46 from only 19 balls, hitting 5 boundaries and 2 sixes overall.
Rajasthan finished a formidable total of 222/2 in their 20 overs and if Delhi were to provide a strong reply, they needed one of their top order batsmen to play an innings like Buttler — a long haul with a big score.
However, despite getting yet another flying start from their opening pair of David Warner and Prithvi Shaw, Delhi kept losing wickets at regular intervals which pegged them back in the contest that ended in a controversial finish in the final over.
The inform Delhi opening batsman David Warner was the first to be dismissed when Prasidh Krishna had him caught behind by Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson for 28, coming from 14 balls with 5 boundaries and a six. The next to follow was Sarfaraz Khan for just 1 from 3 balls, being caught by Prasidh Krishna off Ravichandran Ashwin.
While Delhi was still at a comparatively healthy state of 48/2 at the end of the powerplay, they could never really find their batsmen imposing themselves on the Rajasthan bowlers at any stage in their innings.
Delhi captain Rishabh Pant was dismissed for 44 from 24 balls with 4 boundaries and 2 sixes whereas all-rounder Lalit Yadav made a 24 ball 37 with 3 fours and 2 sixes to solidify for their side, but once their partnership was broken, Delhi struggled against a high asking rate.
The chasing side was left with a humongous task of scoring 36 runs from the final over which was bowled by Obed McCoy. Delhi batsman Rovman Powell turned up the heat on Rajasthan when he smacked the first two balls for sixes and sent the third one — a full toss around the waist height — flying over the ropes as well.
This was when a controversy erupted at the Wankhede Stadium with the entire Delhi dugout claiming that the third ball of the final over was a no-ball for height and demanded the umpires to make the call. However, the ground empires Nitin Menon and Nikhil Patwardhan stuck with their decision despite Delhi assistant coach and former India player Pravin Amre coming on to the field to make their case.
From the dugout, the Delhi captain Rishabh Pant signalled his players multiple times to stage a walkout from the match, which for the right reasons, did not happen. Delhi did express their displeasure at the umpiring decision later on when they had lost the game by 15 runs.
The victory powered Rajasthan to the top spot in the points table for the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022 as they not only have become the third team in the tournament to get to 10 points but also have the best Net Run Rate (NRR) of 0.432.