Young Karun Nair cracked a brilliant unbeaten half-century to guide Rajasthan Royals to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in their IPL-7 match at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium in New Delhi.
Nair anchored the Rajasthan's run-chase with 50-ball 73-run innings which was laced with eight boundaries and two sixes. The 22-year-old added 51 runs off 43 balls for the second wicket with Sanju Samson (34) as Royals overhauled the 153-run winning target with nine balls to spare.
Earlier, opener Quinton de Kock blasted 43 off 33 balls at the top, while JP Duminy provided the late charge with a 31-ball 39 to power Delhi Daredevils to a competitive 152-5 in their stipulated 20 overs after Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson won the toss and elected to field.
Defending 152, Wayne Parnell dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (12) early in the innings with Murali Vijay pulling off a sensational catch at cover. But the early setback didn't affect Rajasthan's runchase as other opener Nair and Sanju Samson (34) stitched together 51 runs off 43 balls for the second wicket.
But their promising partnership was cut short by spinner Shabhaz Nadeem off the last ball of the 10th over when he deceived Samson with a tossed up delivery and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik did a good job behind the wicket to reduce Rajasthan to 71 for two in 10 overs.
Samson hit two boundaries and a couple of sixes in his 28-ball innings.
Rajat Bhatia then joined Nair and the duo picked up sixes off Unadkat and Rahul Sharma over extra cover and long on respectively as Rajasthan crossed the 100-mark in the 13th over.
Bhatia was dismissed by Mohammed Shami in the 15th over. But it didn't have any affect as Watson (16) and Nair then finished the job with an unbeaten 41-run partnership off only 21 balls.
For Delhi, Parnell, Nadeem and Shami took one wicket each.
Earlier, Watson used six different bowlers in the powerplay and it was James Faulkner who drew the first blood, dismissing opener Murali Vijay (13) off a back of the length delivery which was pouched by the skipper at mid-off.
Young Quinton de Kock (42) did most of the scoring in the powerplay, blasting three fours and a six over the leg side boundary as Delhi reached 46-1 in six overs. His 33-ball innings was studded with five fours and one sixes.
Skipper Kevin Pietersen too should have been back in the hut as he was found short by a throw from wicketkeeper by in the second ball of seventh over by Rajat Bhatia. But square-leg umpire Sanjay Hazare didn't refer it to the third umpire, thus giving Pietersen a respite when he was at 2.
However, the umpire's goof-up didn't hurt Rajasthan much as Pravin Tambe had Pietersen (14) caught at long-on by Steven Smith in the 10th over.
De Kock, who was playing well so far at the other end, too ended up giving a simple catch to Tambe on the last ball as Delhi slipped to 72-3 in 10 overs.
The twin strike by Tambe brought two newman – Dinesh Karthik and J P Duminy -- at the crease and they tried to steady the ship with a 24-run stand in 32 balls.
Faulkner was the one who broke the stand when he had Karthik, hole out to Stuart Binny at deep square leg in the 16th over.
Kedar Jadhav then joined Duminy in the middle and he brought up the 100 for Delhi with a six which flew off the top-edge in the last ball. Duminy then picked up a four in the next over off Dhawal Kulkarni, who replaced spinner Iqbal Abdulla in the playing XI.
The South African blasted two more boundaries to pile up 11 runs off Kane Richardson. The duo blasted one four each in the 19th over by Faulkner to accumulate quick runs.
In the last over, Duminy blasted a Richardson ball over square leg for another six but the Australian had his revenge in the next ball itself when Rajat Bhatia took a sensational catch at the boundary line. The duo added 46 off 25 balls. Duminy smashed four fours and one six.
Jadhav then smashed a four and a six to take Delhi across the 150-mark. For Rajasthan, James Faulkner (2/26) and Pravin Tambe (2/25) were chief performers.
Image: Karun Nair