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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

IPL 2018: Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir calls Jason Roy 'a class player' after sending Mumbai Indians to another defeat

Sunday's games include 'Royal Rumble' between Bangalore and Rajasthan and exciting clash between Punjab and Chennai

Jason Roy hit six sixes and as many fours in his first IPL appearance for Delhi Daredevils. Rajanish Kakade / AP Photo
Jason Roy hit six sixes and as many fours in his first IPL appearance for Delhi Daredevils. Rajanish Kakade / AP Photo

England opening batsman Jason Roy played a brilliant innings for Delhi Daredevils on Saturday to send Mumbai Indians to their third consecutive defeat in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Roy needed just 53 deliveries to score an unbeaten 91, hitting six sixes and six fours, as Delhi won by seven wickets at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium for their first win this term.

As it turns out, the game was a cracking one with Delhi chasing down Mumbai’s target of 195 off the last delivery, following cameos from young Indian batsmen Rishabh Pant (47) and Shreyas Iyer (27 not out).

However, the Daredevils could well have been out of the game if not for an innings collapse from the hosts after a very strong start.

Mumbai’s top order, comprising Suryakumar Yadav (53), Evin Lewis (48) and Ishan Kishan (44), combined well to take the Indians’ total to 166. But experienced seamers – New Zealand’s Trent Boult (2-39) and Mohammed Shami of India (1-36) – led Delhi’s fightback as Mumbai were restricted to 194-7.

It is why Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir paid tribute to his bowlers first.

“Boult, Shami – tremendous effort. We thought they were going to get 230. We restricted them to 190,” the former India opener said. “We thought they were 20-30 runs short. That itself was a positive.”

Gambhir also lauded Roy’s effort with the bat, calling him “a class player”.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli leads a star-studded battling line up. Bikas Das / AP Photo
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli leads a star-studded battling line up. Bikas Das / AP Photo

In Sunday’s action, Royal Challenger Bangalore host Rajasthan Royals at 2.30pm (UAE time) before Chennai Super Kings visit Kings XI Punjab four hours later.

The first game could well be called the “Royal Rumble” as Bangalore captain Virat Kohli comes face to face with Rajasthan all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Both players have strong personalities and fiery temperaments, and neither shirks a fight, as they showed when India hosted England in a five-Test series in 2016.

Bangalore and Rajasthan have both played two games and won one each.

But on paper, Bangalore have a strong batting line up what with their top four including Kohli, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Brendon McCullum. On the other hand, Rajasthan have to depend heavily on captain Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson and the unpredictable Stokes.

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Super Kings are playing far, far away from Chennai – in Mohali – but they will still be favourites to beat Punjab in their own den. The men in yellow are a stronger team who have won both their games in 2018. Punjab have won one and lost one.

But the hosts have in captain Ravichandran Ashwin a master tactician who happens to be a former Chennai player, and hence someone who will know best how to exploit the weaknesses of his ex-teammates.

How Chennai deal with Ashwin’s occasional switch from off-spin to leg-spin will likely have an impact on the result.

Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin, left, has reinvented his game ahead of this IPL season. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin, left, has reinvented his game ahead of this IPL season. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo