Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson’s half-century came in vain as Delhi Capitals’ bowlers took their side back top of the Indian Premier League table with a 33-run win.
Samson (70no off 53 balls) was the only Royals batter to pass 19 as his side could only counter Delhi’s 154-6, which seemed under-par at the halfway stage, with 121-6 in Abu Dhabi.
Anrich Nortje (2-18) was the pick of the Delhi attack, while Ravichandran Ashwin (1-20) collected his 250th T20 wicket as Capitals moved two points clear of Chennai Super Kings after an eighth victory in 10 games.
Delhi had failed to ignite with the bat – Shreyas Iyer (43 off 32 ) top-scoring before being stumped by Samson as Rajasthan seamer Mustafizur Rahman bagged 2-22 during a boundary-less four overs.
However, Royals’ chase unravelled as they were reduced to 17-3 inside five overs, with England’s Liam Livingstone out for just one after opening.
Samson, having overturned a caught behind dismissal off Nortje on four, struck an attractive 14th IPL fifty but received little support as his side missed the chance to move into the play-off spots.
Defeat was harsh on Samson, who struck eight fours and a six, but also on Mustafizur.
The Bangladesh quick snapped a 62-run stand between Shreyas and Rishabh Pant (24) for the Capitals’ third wicket when Pant chopped onto his stumps on the pull.
The paceman then ended a bright cameo from Shimron Hetmyer (28 off 16) when the West Indies batter sliced to short third man in the 17th over.
Kartik Tyagi (1-40) – who had conceded just one run from the final over as Rajasthan beat Punjab Kings in a thriller in Dubai on Tuesday night – and Chetan Sakariya (2-33) had earlier accounted for openers Shikhar Dhawan (8) and Prithvi Shaw (10) as Delhi tumbled to 21-2 inside five overs.
Rajasthan fared even worse at the start of their innings, with Livingstone and Yashasvi Jaiswal (5) caught behind by Pant – Jaiswal after a successful Delhi review – and David Miller (7) stumped by Pant after being deceived by Ashwin as he danced down the pitch.
Samson kept Royals afloat, adding 31 with Mahipal Lomror (19) before dominating a stand of 44 with Rahul Tewatia (9) and an unbeaten partnership of 22 with Tabraiz Shamsi (2no) but Rajasthan were well beaten.