And the day has come. RR has been eliminated from qualifying for the playoffs. I can’t exactly say that I did not expect this. I mean, you don’t exactly look at this RR team and give them the title of a side that can win any game with ease. They have to work hard for every victory of theirs. And had they won this match today – they would have still needed two more results to go their way. So it’s not like they missed out on a direct ticket to the playoffs. But still, if SRH loses against RCB today, and MI triumphs over KKR tomorrow, RR will be kicking themselves for losing out on a perfectly good chance of qualifying for the playoffs even after a below-average season. Truth be said, RR never really deserved to qualify with the way they played.
Anyway, coming to today’s match, there were quite a few problems. The first of which was RR’s absurd decision to bat first after winning the toss. As a visiting team who doesn’t know how the pitch will play, shouldn’t you bowl first and then take your chances chasing? This decision proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Delhi Capitals.
The Royals’ batting was a whole other issue. Rahane never really got off to a start and lost his wicket right at the start. That wicket triggered the collapse which was to come. Livingstone managed to make 14 runs (a score which seemed small that time but later proved to be the second highest of the whole team) but could not convert his start. Samson can blame Mahipal Lomror all he wants for his run out, but he can’t change the truth that he too, failed to get the team out of a bad situation. Shreyas Gopal, a pleasant surprise coming up in the middle order, was actually better than all the top order batsmen combined, as he managed to save his wicket for 18 balls on a wicket like this.
But the pick of the batsmen, by far, was the youngest half-centurion in the history of the IPL, Riyan Parag. Such a mature innings from a 17 year old. I wouldn’t even expect someone like a Dhoni to handle the game as well as he did. He dealt in singles till the 18th over because he knew the value of his wicket. But as soon as the death overs rolled around, he transitioned seamlessly into this big six-hitting monster. The performance of this youngster almost made me forget the fact that RR have only made 115 runs.
When DC’s chase started, the only thing that could win RR the game, was wickets. 10 of them. Too bad RR didn’t focus on that. Rahane’s captaincy has truly gone to the dumps. RR had taken the field with 9 bowling options, 6 of whom were spinners. Yet, he chooses to give 4 overs to the pacers who conceded 40 runs in these. In addition to that, he gave 4 overs to Krishnappa Gowtham, for whom out-of-form would be a serious understatement. No wonder he ended up wicketless. The absence of Smith was being felt.
So, now that RR is out of the tournament, which team am I supporting? Hmm. See, I only have loyalties towards one team which is the Royals. But, there are teams who I do not like much. Namely, Chennai Super Kings, and Kings XI Punjab. A big sorry to all the CSK fans (there are a lot of you guys!) but I don’t like the yellow brigade because they just don’t lose! I believe that a team which can face the hardships, but still overcome them, is the best team. So yes, I don’t know who I am supporting, but I can tell you who I am not supporting. If anyone other than CSK wins (A little unlikely though), I’m happy.