Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis did the star turn as Delhi Capitals beat Rajasthan Royals by 46 runs in their Indian Premier League match, in Sharjah, on Friday.
Batting first, the duo rallied Delhi after the loss of their top three batsmen to post 184, Hetmyer scoring a breezy 45 off just 24 balls, and Stoinis 39 off 30, after they were reduced to 50 for 3 in the sixth over.
Then, defending the total, the lowest in the first innings at Sharjah, Hetmyer pulled off two stunning catches and Stoinis took two crucial wickets to send the Royals crashing to their fourth straight defeat.
Kagiso Rabada led the demolition of Rajasthan Royals’s batting, claiming three wickets for 35 runs in 3.4 overs. Man of the match Ravichandran Ashwin had figures of 2 for 22, including the crucial one of Jos Buttler, as Rajasthan were shot out 138 in 19.4 overs.
Earlier, desperate to snap their three-match losing streak, Rajasthan opted to field and the bowling unit delivered. Archer was the pick of their bowlers with figures of 3 for 24.
It was Archer who had Delhi on the ropes from the outset. He struck in the second over of the Powerplay, dismissing Shikhar Dhawan (5 off 4 balls) with his third delivery. The India opener tried to clear the ring on the leg side, but did not get the elevation and was caught by young Yashasvi Jaiswal
The England pacer was again in the thick of action, taking a difficult catch off his own bowling off the second delivery of his second over, to get rid of Prithvi Shaw (19 from 10 balls). The batsman went for the pull shot, got a massive top edge and Archer took a well-judged catch.
Things got only worse for Delhi when skipper Shreyas Iyer (22 from 18 balls) was run-out by a direct throw from Jaiswal in the next over.
At 50 for 3 in the sixth over, the onus was on Rishab Pant and Marcus Stoinis to revive the Delhi innings. But disaster struck again in the tenth over.
Pant (5 off 9) took off from the non-striker’s end, but Stoinis did not respond after playing the delivery to mid-on. Substitute fielder Manan Vora sent in a precise throw for Rahul Tewatia to remove the bails.
Tewatia then struck with his third delivery in the 14th over. Stoinis chased what may have been called a wide, got a top edge and Steve Smith, at cover-point, took the catch. Stoinis walked back after scoring 39 off 30 balls.
Hetmyer then blazed away. However, looking for a sixth six he was caught at by Tewatia at long-on off the bowling of Kartik Tyagi.
Harshal Patel (16 off 15) and Axar Patel (17 off 8) then slogged it out in the death overs to help Delhi finish with a healthy total.
In reply, the Royals were on the backfoot the moment they lost Jos Buttler in the third over, with just 15 on the board.
Buttler (13 off 8) went for a big hit against Ravichandran Ashwin but the ball dipped and Dhawan, at square leg, took an excellent diving catch.
Steve Smith (24 off 17 ) soon followed him back to the hut. The Australian sent the ball to leg, but Hetmyer ran in from deep square mid-wicket to take a superb catch. Replays confirmed that the catch was clean.
Sanju Samson (5) then holed out to Hetmyer at deep square midwicket leaving Rajasthan reeling at 72 for three.
Ashwin then returned to dismiss Mahipal Lomror (1), while Stoinis cleaned up young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who struggled for 34 off 36, and it was all over for the Royals.
Rahul Tewatia (38 off 29) hit a few lusty blows but wickets continued to tumble on a pitch that was not as good for batting as the earlier games in Sharjah.