New Delhi: Inspired by Karun Nair's 73 not out, Rajasthan Royals clinched an important victory against Delhi Daredevils in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Saturday. (Scorecard | Match highlights | Standings)
The Royals chased down the target of 153 with relative ease with nine balls to spare in the first match to be held in the national capital after the IPL returned to India from the United Arab Emirates leg.
After being put in to bat, the hosts got off to a good start with openers Quinton de Kock and Murali Vijay (13).
But the latter soon fell and in came captain Kevin Pietersen (14), who had a lucky escape while batting at 2 not out as he was run out by wicketkeeper Sanju Samson. But the square leg umpire did not refer to the third umpire and ruled in favour of the batsman.
But the Royals were still able to contain the former England captain was he was caught at long on while trying to accelerate.
South African de Kock (43) also got out couple of runs later when spinner Pravin Tambe held on to a brilliant catch off his own bowling.
It looked like the visitors would be able to contain the Daredevils for a mediocre score but JP Duminy (39) and Kedar Jadhav (28 not out) provided some fireworks much to the delight of the crowd with the last four overs accounting for 49 runs.
Duminy hit four boundaries and a six in his 31-ball knock while Jadhav smashed two sixes and boundaries each to take the team to 152/5.
Pacer James Faulkner and Tambe both clinched two wickets each while Kane Richardson claimed the final wicket of Duminy.
In reply, Royals opener Ajinkya Rahane (12) got out early but Karun Nair and Sanju Samson struck an important 51-run second-wicket partnership, steering the Royals ship towards home. Samson looked good but was eventually stumped by Dinesh Karthik for 34.
However, Nair kept the scoreboard ticking and scored another important 44-run third-wicket partnership with all-rounder Rajat Bhatia (17) to help his team reach a comfortable position before Bhatia's stumps were knocked out by pacer Mohammed Shami.
Nair continued his run and reached his first half-century of this edition of the IPL, hitting eight fours and two sixes.
It was only a matter of minutes before Nair and captain Shane Watson (16 not out) took the team to their fourth win in six games.
A minor fire broke out towards the end of the match in the Hill Stand, next to the Pavilion End, in the stadium which filled the ground with smoke. However, it was doused moments later and did not cause any delay or problem.