A file photo of Rishabh Pant. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Young Rishabh Pant cracked a blistering 69 while captain Shreyas Iyer (50) hit his fourth half-century of the season as Delhi kept themselves in the race for IPL play-offs with a nervy four-run win over Rajasthan Royals at Feroz Shah Kotla.
Earlier, Rajasthan won the toss and opted to bowl first and invited Delhi to bat but were guilty of feeding the home batsmen with deliveries either too short or too full, making the job easy for the hosts after rain made it an 18-overs per side affair.
Rain brought a premature end to the Delhi's innings when the hosts were 196 for six in 17.1 overs and Rajasthan set a revised target of 151 from 12 overs under Duckworth/Lewis method.
After receiving some battering from Joss Buttler, who thrashed the home bowlers with seven sixes and four fours in his 67-run knock, Delhi restricted the Rajasthan to 146 for five to notch up the win.
Delhi have now moved up to sixth from the eighth position with this win.
Young Prithvi Shaw (47) was yet again in sublime touch and raised a 73-run stand with his captain for the second wicket after the side lost Colin Munro (0) in the fourth ball of the innings.
After Shaw's dismissal, Iyer and Rishabh Pant combined to punish the wayward Royals' bowlers, adding 92 runs for the third wicket in just 7.1 overs.
Iyer hit his fourth fifty in last five matches as he consumed 35 balls for his 50, hitting three sixes and as many fours.
Pant hammered the Rajasthan's bowlers all around the park in his 29-ball knock, studded with seven fours and five sixes.
Jaydev Unadkat (3/46) removed both of them in the 15th over but by then Delhi had put up enough runs on the board.
Vijay Shankar (17) came out with some lusty hits to help the hosts get close to 200-run mark.
Royals were off to a fiery start with Buttler going berserk. The England batsman smashed Avesh Khan for three sixes and a four and also punished Liam Plunkett as Rajasthan collected 58 from four Power-play overs.
Buttler completed his fifty off just 18 balls when he lofted Amit Mishra for a six. As many as five bowlers were employed by Delhi but all of them got severe punishment from Buttler.
It was Mishra who finally gave the breakthrough by having the Briton stumped in the seventh over. Rajasthan needed a big knock from Ben Stokes (1) but he could not do much.
Opener D'Arcy Short (44 off 25) was also dismissed but K Gowtham somehow kept the Rajasthan in the hunt by striking a six and a four off Plunkett in the 11th over.
Rajasthan needed 15 from the last over but Trent Boult yet again did the job, conceding only 10 runs.
Earlier, Shaw stroked the ball nicely as he picked the lengths quickly but ended up giving a caught-and-bowled chance on a turning ball to leg-break bowler Shreyas Gopal in the eighth over.
His 47 came off 25 balls as he punished the Rajasthan bowlers with four fours and as many sixes.
After two quiet overs, Shaw began the fireworks as he creamed off 16 runs from Dhawal Kulkarni's over, hitting the paceman for two sixes and a four.
Kulkarni had a difficult chance in his follow through in the last ball of the over but could not hold on to it.
Shaw was in good touch and continued to find boundaries. The next bowler in his firing line was Unadkat, whom he smashed for two fours and a six.
Iyer joined the party by launching Gopal for two sixes. The first was off a full-length ball and the next was pitched short.
The spinner dismissed Shaw but conceded his fourth six of the innings when new man Pant launched him for a massive six over long-on.
Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes were the only bowlers who had managed to contain the rampaging Delhi batsmen a bit but Pant did not spare the West Indian when he bowled full and found the ball in the stands.
In no time, the two batsmen raised a 50-run stand, taking just 27 balls between them.