Heinrich Klaasen smashed a career-best 81 as South Africa claimed a 2-0 T20I series lead with a four-wicket victory over India.

Ishan Kishan (34) and Shreyas Iyer (40) offered India a bright start at the Barabati Stadium on Sunday.

But the hosts' middle-order batters struggled before Dinesh Karthik scored a brisk 30 off 21 balls to propel India to 148-6.

Having chased an improbable 212 in the first meeting, South Africa initially struggled this time around with Bhuvneshwar Kumar reducing the tourists to 29-3 after an opening spell of three wickets for 10 runs.

Captain Temba Bavuma watched as wickets fell around him but posted an important 35 before being bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal (1-49).

Bavuma combined in a vital 64-run partnership with Klaasen, whose brutal 81 came off just 46 deliveries before he was removed by Harshal Patel (1-17) and Wayne Parnell (one) fell to Kumar (4-13).

David Miller (20 not out) then saw South Africa over the line with 10 balls to spare as the Proteas furthered their advantage in the five-match series.

Rapid Rabada

Rabada became the fourth South African bowler to claim 50 wickets in men's T20Is when he dismissed Ruturaj Gaikwad for one in the first over.

The fast bowler achieved the feat in his 42nd game, making him the third-fastest bowler from South Africa to a half-century of dismissals, behind only Dale Steyn (35) and Imran Tahir (31).

Hendricks misses opportunity

Chasing a far from imposing total, Reeza Hendricks had the chance to make his mark as an opener, replacing South Africa stalwart Quinton de Kock.

However, the 32-year-old made just four before being bowled by Kumar as he failed to leave a lasting impression in a rare opportunity at the top of the order.

David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen starred as South Africa chased a remarkable 212 to end India's 12-game T20I winning run.

Ishan Kishan (76) combined with Shreyas Iyer (36) in a destructive 80-run partnership as India posted 211-4 – the highest score in T20Is at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

That total was boosted by a late flurry of runs from Rishabh Pant (29 off 16 balls) and Hardik Pandya's 12-ball 31 for a much-changed India, without Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah or Virat Kohli.

South Africa soon lost captain Temba Bavuma (10) in the chase, caught behind off Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-43), before Dwaine Pretorius and Quinton de Kock offered brief resistance.

Harshal Patel (1-43) then removed Pretorius (29), and De Kock (22) followed to Axar Patel (1-40), with South Africa 81-3 after 8.4 overs, before Miller and Van der Dussen joined in an incredible 131-run partnership.

Miller blasted 64 off 31 and Van der Dussen – dropped on 29 by Iyer – mustered 75 off 46 deliveries to complete the sixth-highest run chase in T20I history and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

India run ends

India seemed set to move clear of Afghanistan and Romania (both 12) for the longest winning streak in the format's history and end South Africa's own four-game winning run.

But the late heroics of Miller and Van der Dussen ensured South Africa collected their 12th win in 13 T20Is, while India have won just one of their past five at home to the Proteas in 20-over cricket.

Maharaj misery in winning cause

Maharaj picked up the all-important wicket of Kishan, but the left-armer struggled against India, albeit in a winning cause.

He went for 43 from his three overs, at an economy of 14.33, but could have been helped by De Kock had the wicket-keeper not missed a stumping of Iyer on 25.

Rishabh Pant will captain India for the first time against South Africa after KL Rahul was ruled out of the five-match Twenty20 International series.

Rahul was due to lead India in the absence of the rested Rohit Sharma, but the batter has sustained a groin injury.

That has opened the door for Pant to step up, with Hardik Pandya named vice-captain after leading Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League title in his first tournament as captain.

Delhi Capitals skipper Pant is relishing the opportunity to lead his country in a series that starts at Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.

The wicketkeeper-batter said: "It's a great feeling, especially getting an opportunity like this in your hometown.

"There is nothing bigger than this. It didn't come under very good circumstances but I will try to make most of it and give my 100 per cent."

Pant came under fire for costly mistakes he made during a must-win IPL encounter with Mumbai Indians last month, but says he will learn from such experiences.

"I think it [captaining in the IPL] will help me a lot because when you keep doing the same thing over a period of time, you tend to improve," the 24-year-old said.

"I am someone who keeps on learning from my mistakes and that's something which is going to help me in the coming days as well."

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has also been ruled out of the series after taking a blow on his right hand in the nets on Tuesday, while Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested along with Rohit.

India will become the first men's team to win 13 T20I matches in a row if they take a 1-0 lead over the Proteas.

The tourists are also in excellent form, having been victorious in 11 of their past 12 games in the shortest format - their only loss during that time coming against Australia in the T20 World Cup last October.

 

Malik to be unleashed, Karthik returns

Umran Malik has been rewarded for a hugely impressive IPL by being called up for India duty for the first time.

The 22-year-old paceman was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 22 for Sunrisers Hyderabad and is a hugely exciting prospect. 

Dinesh Karthik has not played for his country since 2019, but the 37-year-old wicketkeeper-batter is back in the fold with the World Cup on the horizon.

Nortje back, Van der Dussen closing on landmark

South Africa have brought a strong squad to India and are boosted by the return to fitness of Anrich Nortje.

Nortje had been sidelined by a hip injury, but played in the IPL and is set to fire in a hostile South Africa attack.

The Proteas also have a dangerous batting line-up and Rassie van der Dussen needs only 67 runs to reach the 1,000 landmark in T20Is. If he scores those runs in his next innings, he would be the joint-fastest to reach that figure along with Faf du Plessis (32 innings).

Cheteshwar Pujara has been rewarded with a return to the India squad for the rearranged fifth Test against England in July after a fine spell in the County Championship.

India, led by Virat Kohli, were 2-1 up in the five-match Test series in England before the tourists were unable to field a team due to coronavirus-related concerns in September.

The one-off Test starts at Edgbaston on July 1, following a four-day warm-up game against Leicestershire on June 24, and India have named their 17-man red-ball squad.

Pujara was dropped for the home Test series against Sri Lanka but has been reinstated after managing 720 runs in eight innings for Sussex – including four centuries – in County Championship Division Two.

Ravindra Jadeja is also part of the touring party despite pulling out of the ongoing Indian Premier League due to a rib injury, while Hanuma Vihari and Shubman Gill retained their spots.

Rohit Sharma will lead the Test side after Kohli, who remains in the squad, stepped down as captain following the 2-1 series defeat to South Africa earlier this year.

Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will lead the bowling attack, which includes Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and the uncapped Prasidh Krishna.

Ajinkya Rahane was not available for selection after sustaining a hamstring injury, while openers Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal were the other two left out from the Sri Lanka series.

Meanwhile, Rohit, Kohli and Bumrah were all rested for the home five-match T20I series against South Africa, which starts on June 9.

KL Rahul will skipper the white-ball side in Sharma's absence, with fast bowler Umran Malik handed a maiden call-up after impressing in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The experienced Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik return to the international limited-overs squad, while spin duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal make their comebacks after taking the IPL by storm.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda and Shreyas Iyer all retain their spots, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar heading a bowling attack that includes Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh.

India’s Test squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain) Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.

India’s T20I squad: KL Rahul (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (vice-captain)(wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

Delhi Capitals missed out on the Indian Premier League play-offs after Tim David capitalised on a reprieve in a five-wicket win for Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

The Capitals, requiring a victory at the Wankhede Stadium to make the last four, were limited to 159-7, with Jasprit Bumrah (3-25)  the pick of the bowlers.

Rovman Powell (43) and Rishabh Pant (39) fell short of half-centuries, but Delhi's total looked competitive as the Indians made a slow start in response.

Mumbai struggled to 27-1 at the end of the powerplay after Anrich Nortje dismissed captain Rohit Sharma, who managed only two off 13 deliveries.

Ishan Kishan offered more attacking intent, scoring 48 off 35 balls before falling to Kuldeep Yadav (1-33) in the 12th over and Dewald Brevis (37) followed to Shardul Thakur soon after with 65 runs still required.

Pant failed to review when David, on nought, edged behind and the Australian capitalised by blasting an 11-ball 34 before he was removed by Thakur (2-32) to leave Mumbai needing just 15 from 13 balls.

Ramandeep Singh (13 not out) saw Rohit's side over the line with five deliveries to spare, which meant Royal Challengers Bangalore took the final play-off spot and will face Lucknow Super Giants in the eliminator on Wednesday.

Brilliant Bumrah

Bumrah has been somewhat off the pace for the struggling Mumbai in this year's competition, barring his excellent 5-10 against Kolkata Knight Riders.

However, the India quick was in imperious form in the first innings of this game, removing Prithvi Shaw (24), Mitchell Marsh (nought) and Powell to take his tally to 15 in the 2022 IPL.

Pant's reviews

Pan dropped a simple chance when Brevis skied Kuldeep on 25. The skipper then ignored Thakur's advice and opted to not review when David edged behind.

The Capitals captain followed that up by reviewing a Nortje delivery to Tilak Varma that pitched well outside leg stump, capping a miserable day for the India wicketkeeper.

Ricky Ponting thinks Rishabh Pant can follow the same path as Rohit Sharma and go on to captain India after becoming an inspirational leader in the Indian Premier League.

Pant was appointed Delhi Capitals skipper ahead of the 2021 IPL with Shreyas Iyer impacted by a shoulder injury.

The India wicketkeeper-batsman retained the role on a permanent basis and will come up against Rohit when Delhi start their IPL campaign with a showdown against Mumbai on Sunday.

Capitals coach Ponting championed Rohit to be installed as Indians skipper during the former Australia captain's time with that franchise and the batter has proved to be an impressive leader - lifting the IPL trophy five times.

Rohit has also taken over from Virat Kohli as India captain and Ponting believes Pant, 24, has the credentials to have that honour.

Ponting said: "I hadn't thought about that actually but they [Pant and Rohit] are actually quite similar.

"When Rohit took over at Mumbai, he was quite a young man as well, and had started out in his international cricket.

"He was probably very similar, I'm not sure how old he was but he would have been 23-24, similar to what Rishabh is here at the Delhi Capitals.

"To tell you honestly, they're quite similar people. I know they are great mates and they talk all the time and they're probably exchanging things about leadership and captaincy along the way as well.

"Rohit probably doesn't want to give too many secrets away because we're going to play against him in a couple of days' time. I think there's every opportunity for Rishabh's journey to be similar to Rohit Sharma's.

"He's a young captain of a successful franchise and growing on a daily basis and hopefully Rishabh can have the same sort of success Rohit's had at the Mumbai Indians.

"And then with some experience in a role like this in a high-pressure tournament like the IPL, I've got no doubt in the years to come there's every chance that Rishabh could be an international captain. No doubt about it."

Rishabh Pant scored a record-breaking half-century and Jasprit Bumrah did more damage as India totally dominated day two of the second Test at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Bumrah (5-24) claimed his first five-wicket Test haul on home soil as India took only 35 balls to reduce the tourists from 86-6 to 109 all out in the opening session in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Rohit Sharma's home side then made 303-9 declared in their second innings of the day-night Test, setting Sri Lanka a highly improbable 447 to draw the series.

Pant (50) bludgeoned a 28-ball half-century - the fastest of all time for India in the longest format - and Shreyas Iyer (67) scored his second fifty of the match, with Rohit striking 46 at the top of the order.

Sri Lanka were 28-1 at stumps after Bumrah removed Lahiru Thirimanne without scoring with the pink ball under the lights as India closed in on a 2-0 whitewash.

Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-30) wasted no time in wrapping up the tourists' first innings at the start of the day, after they resumed in big trouble in reply to India's 252 all out.

Mayank Agarwal (22) then missed out again with the bat for India, but captain Rohit and Hanuma Vihari (35) put on 56 for the second wicket.

It was Pant who produced the fireworks, taking the Sri Lanka attack to all parts, with Virat Kohli (13) falling to Praveen Jayawickrama (4-78) and Ravindra Jadeja bowled by Vishwa Fernando for 22 as India were in a rush to pile on the runs.

Jayawickrama, who was able to return to the field after limping off, had Pant caught and bowled and Iyer ticked along nicely before Lasith Embuldeniya (3-87) trapped him leg before.

Thirimanne fell to Bumrah in the first over of Sri Lanka's second innings after Rohit declared, but Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis prevented further damage from being done.

Home comforts for brilliant Bumrah

Bumrah had struck three times on day one to put Sri Lanka in the mire and the paceman finally claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul in his homeland on Sunday.

The relentless quick had taken five wickets seven times on tour and added the eighth such harvest of his career by getting Embuldeniya and Niroshan Dickwella caught behind.

Bumrah later struck again by generating sharp swing to see the back of Thirimanne.

Pant cuts loose

The stage was set for wicketkeeper-batsman Pant to cut loose, and he did not disappoint the India fans.

The explosive left-hander struck two sixes and seven fours as he broke a record that was held by the great Kapil Dev, who blasted a 30-ball half-century against Pakistan back in 1982.

Iyer gave another exhibition of his class in the middle order in an 87-ball knock.

Ravindra Jadeja took up the mantle for India as his unbeaten 175 guided Rohit Sharma's side into a commanding position on day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Rishabh Pant fell short of a century on day one in Mohali, but day two also belonged to the hosts, who were 446 runs ahead at stumps on Saturday.

Jadeja resumed on 45, yet the world's second-best Test batsman had ticked over 100 by the time lunch arrived, with India at 468-7 after ending day one on 357-6.

Ravichandran Ashwin reached 61 from 82 deliveries, with his stand including eight fours, before falling to Suranga Lakmal (2-90) in the first session.

Jayant Yadav was dismissed for two shortly after lunch, but Jadeja went on the offensive, putting on a century stand for the ninth-wicket alongside Mohammed Shami (20 not out) before Sharma declared on 574-8.

Virat Kohli, playing in his 100th Test, received a guard of honour from his team-mates as India headed out to field, though Sharma's hosts were made to wait for a breakthrough as Sri Lanka's openers started in solid fashion after tea.

That breakthrough came in the 19th over when Ashwin trapped Lahiru Thirimanne leg before wicket. The opener sent it upstairs, but the review merely confirmed the decision.

Dimuth Karunaratne (28) followed soon after, again unsuccessfully reviewing for an lbw decision, albeit this time on umpire's call.

Jasprit Bumrah thought he had bowled Pathum Nissanka, only to have overstepped his mark, but he got his wicket when Angelo Mathews was given out lbw, with the review again confirming umpire's call.

Dhananjaya de Silva also went lbw, attempting an unwise sweep from Ashwin as India capped off a fine day.

Sri Lanka's review misfortune

Sri Lanka fell foul of an umpire's call twice, so it would be harsh to say they wasted their reviews on trying to overturn the dismissals of Karunaratne and Mathews.

De Silva did not even attempt to get a reprieve from the technology, though Charith Asalanka did use one wisely to avoid being given out late on to Jadeja.

Jadeja stakes his claim

India's Jadeja is arguably the best all-rounder in world cricket at the moment, and he proved his quality with his exceptional knock, which included three sixes and 17 fours.

His 175 is a new personal high in Test cricket for the 33-year-old and came at a strike rate of 76.75. It might just have put this match beyond the tourists, too.

Rishabh Pant fell agonisingly short of a century and Virat Kohli missed out on a hundred on day one of his 100th Test, but India are on top against Sri Lanka in Mohali.

Kohli looked in good touch in his landmark match – and the first since Rohit Sharma replaced him as Test captain – before he was bowled by Lasith Embuldeniya for 45.

Hanuma Vihari made a composed 58 after being selected to come in at number three, but it was Pant who took centre stage following Kohli's departure with a typically explosive innings.

The wicketkeeper-batsman smashed 96 off 97 balls, but failed to reach three figures as he was bowled by Suranga Lakmal late in an opening day of the series that ended with India on 357-6.

Rohit started his reign by winning the toss and put on 52 in an opening stand with Mayank Agarwal before the new skipper fell to Lahiru Kumara for 29.

Agarwal (33) was also sent on his way before lunch, trapped leg before by Embuldeniya (2-107), and Kohli struck five boundaries before losing his off stump to the spinner to end a stand of 90 with Vihari.

With Cheteshwar Pujara dropped along with Ajinkya Rahane, the elegant Vihari set about trying to establish himself in the side with a half-century before playing on to a delivery from Fernando.

Pant produced the fireworks in a swashbuckling knock to raise the run-rate, putting on 104 for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (45 not out) on a tough day for Sri Lanka.

The tourists were lifted late on, though, when was cleaned up through the gate by Lakmal and kicked the ground as he trudged off in fury.

 

Pant pummels Sri Lanka

A fifth Test century was there for the taking for Pant after Pant dispatched the Sri Lanka attack to all parts.

The destructive left-hander shifted through the gears after bringing up his half-century, launching Embuldeniya for back-to-back sixes as he took 22 off an over from the spinner.

Pant had cleared the rope four times and hit another nine boundaries until he fell so close to three figures.

 

Kohli joins 8,000 club but hundred remains elusive

Former captain Kohli strode to the crease with an air expectation on such a big occasion for him.

That was building as he ticked along nicely, scoring the 38 runs he needed to reach the 8,000-mark in the longest format.

There was to be no first Test century since November 2019, though, as Embuldeniya failed to read the script.

Rohit Sharma praised India for a "phenomenal finish" as they halted the West Indies' chase on Friday to clinch the Twenty20 series and reach 100 wins in the format.

India won for an eighth consecutive T20I match, a new record for the nation, as they defeated the tourists by seven runs in Kolkata.

After Rohit and Ishan Kishan managed just 21 runs between them, Virat Kohli and player of the match Rishabh Pant settled any anxiety at the crease by scoring 52 each, with eight boundaries apiece.

Pant's half-century came off just 28 deliveries, while Kohli's score took him to within just three runs of equalling Martin Guptill's T20I record of 3,299 runs.

The West Indies mounted a strong chase, with Nicholas Pooran hitting 62 before being caught off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's delivery – a crucial wicket with just 15 balls remaining.

Rovman Powell's 68 dragged them close to a win, but Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar's expert final overs saw India over the line.

"You are always a bit scared when you are playing against these guys. In the end, it was a phenomenal finish," said Rohit.

"Right from the start, we knew it wouldn't be easy. But I am proud we executed our plans under pressure."

Brilliant Bhuvi

The experience of Bhuvneshwar proved key as the West Indies cranked up the pressure. The 32-year-old finished on 1-29 from four overs, giving up just two boundaries and signing off with just four singles and the wicket of Pooran from his final over.

"It was very critical at that point when Bhuvneshwar bowled," said Rohit. "That's where experience comes into play. Bhuvi has been doing it for many years and we believe in him a lot."

No century celebrations for Pollard

Kieron Pollard became the first West Indies player to reach 100 T20I appearances and the ninth overall in international cricket, although he could not mark the occasion by hitting the single six needed to reach a century in the format.

Pollard, who gave up 14 runs in his solitary over and scored three off the bat from as many deliveries, said of the finish: "We cannot call the batters out. We can look at it in different ways how we could have got those eight runs. We are a work in progress."

South Africa put themselves within striking distance of a Test series victory over India despite Rishabh Pant producing a terrific century on day three at Newlands.

Proteas captain Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen combined for a 78-run partnership after tea as South Africa chased 212 to win the Cape Town tussle and take a 2-1 series victory.

India took what may yet be a priceless wicket with what proved to be the final delivery of the day, with Elgar caught down the leg side by Pant off Jasprit Bumrah, a review showing a clear nick.

He fell for 30, with Petersen unbeaten on 48 and South Africa 101-2, needing 111 more runs to get over the line.

There was Test history made earlier in the day as India were bowled out for 198 in their second innings, with Pant making 100 not out – described by India great Sachin Tendulkar on Twitter as "a simply outstanding knock".

All 10 India wickets fell to catches, just as they had in the first innings. That meant for the first time in Tests, a team lost all of their 20 wickets to catches.

India slumped from 152-4 to fall short of 200, but it was not for the lack of trying from Pant, who scored his runs from just 139 balls, with six fours and four sixes.

Temba Bavuma almost caught the wicketkeeper-batsman on 94 when the left-hander struck powerfully down the ground, but the ball squirted through the fielder's grasp and ran to the boundary.

He reached the fourth century of his Test career by tucking away a single to long leg before raising his bat in delight, but India, who began the day at 57-2, failed to back up his efforts. Collectively, Pant's team-mates contributed just 70, with 28 coming from extras.

Skipper Virat Kohli dug in before falling to Lungi Ngidi (3-21) for 29, having faced as many as 143 balls. Kagiso Rabada took 3-53 in another impressive effort from the Proteas in the field.


Jansen impresses again

Marco Jansen, South Africa's 6ft 9in paceman, took 4-36 in just his third Test appearance. Since making his debut in the opening match of this series, Jansen has taken 19 Test wickets at an average of 16.47. His pace and bounce has at times been too much for India, who are perhaps the first of many Test teams who will suffer against his menace.

History repeating for Proteas?

Cheteshwar Pujara fell to just the second delivery of the morning, with Petersen producing an outstanding catch on the leap at leg slip. Now the safe hands of Petersen can guide South Africa towards victory with the bat. Only on three previous occasions have teams won by posting a score of at least 200 in the fourth innings at Newlands. One of those was in 2007, when South Africa beat India by five wickets to clinch a 2-1 series win.

Shreyas Iyer nudged Delhi Capitals to a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians to leave the defending Indian Premier League champions in danger of missing out on the play-offs.

Avesh Khan (3-15) and Axar Patel (3-21) limited Mumbai - who are sixth with two matches to play - to 129-8 as the holders lost wickets at regular intervals.

Anrich Nortje also picked up 1-19 from his four-over allocation and, despite Suryakumar Yadav's 33, Rishabh Pant's side looked like the firm favourites at the halfway point in Sharjah on Saturday.

Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed fellow Australian Steve Smith (nine) with his first delivery to leave the Capitals teetering at 30-3 after openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw were also dismissed cheaply.

Pant (26) followed to off-spinner Jayant Yadav to leave Delhi 57-4 but Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer (15) offered resistance to drag their side up to 93-6 before the latter fell to Jasprit Bumrah's deceiving slower ball.

Ravichandran Ashwin (20) then joined Iyer, who finished unbeaten on 33, to secure victory for second-placed Delhi with five balls to spare and leave the Indians under serious threat of failing to reach the play-offs.

Avesh torments Indians

Avesh toyed with the Mumbai line-up as he delivered a mix of slower balls and inswinging yorkers to secure his three dismissals.

The seamer impressively dismissed the dangerous finisher Hardik Pandya in the penultimate over, while also removing Coulter-Nile after he had claimed the big scalp of Rohit Sharma in his first over.

Ashwin final-over gamble fails

Pant gambled by holding back Ashwin to the final over of Mumbai's innings. The off-spinner dismissed Jayant Yadav but conceded 13 from his final six deliveries as he ended with 1-41 from his four overs.

However, Ashwin made up for it with the bat as he sealed the win with a six off Krunal Pandya's first ball of the last over.

Rajasthan Royals climbed off the canvas to record their first win over Delhi Capitals since April 2018, Chris Morris the hero as he blasted his side to a three-wicket win in the final over.

The Royals were on the ropes at 42-5 during their reply to the Capitals' total of 147-8, yet David Miller's fighting innings of 62 helped keep them in a see-saw contest in Mumbai.

His departure - caught in the deep trying to hit Avesh Khan (3-32) for a third successive six - left the score at 104-7, yet Morris delivered the knockout blows at the death.

Needing 27 from the final two overs, the all-rounder hammered four sixes – including two off compatriot Kagiso Rabada – to sensationally steer Rajasthan home with two balls to spare.

Delhi had suffered a poor start in their innings earlier in proceedings, a superb opening burst from Jaydev Unadkat, who finished with figures of 3-15, helping the Royals reduce their opponents to 37-4.

However, captain Rishabh Pant led the recovery mission for the Capitals, who were unbeaten in the previous five meetings between the franchises.

Lalit Yadav (20) and Tom Curran (21) made useful contributions down the order, while Chris Woakes finished up on 15 not out before playing a starring role for his team with the ball.

The England pace bowler removed international team-mate Jos Buttler for two early on, but the Royals – without the injured Ben Stokes, who will miss the rest of the campaign due to a broken finger – recovered to end Delhi's three-game winning streak at the Wankhede Stadium.

Morris shows his value

Back for a second spell with Rajasthan, who made him the most expensive buy in IPL auction history earlier this year, Morris demonstrated just why he was in such high demand.

Denied the chance to be the hero in their opening game – Sanju Samson turned down a single from the penultimate delivery against Punjab Kings, then got out when needing six to win – he benefited from some loose bowling from Delhi to cash in during the closing stages this time.

Pant down, then out

Skipper Pant rescued his team with a fluent 51 that included nine fours. However, when seemingly well set, he ran himself out trying to sneak a single, some smart work by bowler Riyan Parag seeing the left-hander dismissed by a distance.

Speaking after the game, the wicketkeeper-batsman admitted his team's score was "15-20 short", runs he could easily have provided had he not taken such an unnecessary risk.

Ryan Harris believes "natural leader" Rishabh Pant can guide Delhi Capitals to a maiden Indian Premier League title.

Pant was appointed as Capitals captain last month after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.

India sensation Pant has emerged as one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and will start the IPL in outstanding form, having dished out some brutal treatment to the England Test and limited-overs attacks.

Harris saw Pant's captaincy credentials when he was Delhi's bowling coach for their run to the final of the 2020 IPL, which they lost to the Mumbai Indians.

The former Australia paceman says the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman can thrive on the responsibility of being skipper.

He told Stats Perform News: "Obviously it's a blow to lose Shreyas, but Rishabh is a natural leader and a great competitor.

"He was already doing a lot of leading when I was over in Dubai last year for the tournament. There were times when Shreyas was fielding on the boundary, so Rishabh was taking on responsibility then.

"He's a bit talker and an outspoken character. It's not something he will be coming into blind and he will relish it.

"Rishabh is a natural leader, a popular member of the squad and he was an obvious choice to step up as captain and he should be massively confident following some brilliant performances against Australia and England."

The Capitals will have a potent bowling attack once again, with South Africa duo Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje retained along with Ishant Sharma and the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin.

Harris feels this could be the year for Delhi, who have also recruited prolific Australia batsman Steve Smith, to claim an elusive first IPL crown.

"They have a few of the best fast bowlers in the world in that squad and if they can stay fit, they can have a really good tournament again," he said.

"Rabada and Nortje were outstanding last year and they have also added Tom Curran. Ashwin and [Amit] Mishra are great spin options and the batting line-up is strong, so they have a good chance."

The Capitals face Chennai Super Kings in their first match of the tournament on Saturday.

Mumbai Indians are favourites to claim a historic third successive Indian Premier League crown back on home soil.

The Indians retained their title in Dubai last year with a victory over Delhi Capitals, taking their record tally of IPL triumphs to a five.

Rohit Sharma's side will be the team to beat in a competition that will be played in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, having been staged overseas in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore look the most likely sides to prevent Mumbai from becoming the first franchise to win three consecutive IPL titles.

We pick out some of the things to look out for in what promises to be a mouthwatering extravaganza of cricket, which starts on Friday in a country that will stage the T20 World Cup later this year.

 

INDIANS PRIMED FOR THREE IN A ROW

The champions start the defence of their title with a blockbuster showdown against RCB in the first game of the tournament at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Mumbai will have to wait for Quinton de Kock's arrival as he is on duty with South Africa, so skipper Rohit will be expected to set the tone at the top of the order.

The India opener is the fourth-highest run-scorer in IPL history with 5,230 at an average of 31.31 and, although the 2020 edition was not one of his best, he struck a rapid 68 in the final. Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav played significant hands with the bat in Mumbai's 2020 success.

Trent Boult was man of the match in that win over Delhi after taking 3-30 and the New Zealand seamer will have a big part to play with the ball along with Jasprit Bumrah.

 

STAND-IN SKIPPER PANT CAN LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Delhi's first IPL final proved to be painful in November, but they will fancy their chances of going one better under the captaincy of Rishabh Pant.

The addition of Steve Smith, who was released by Rajasthan Royals, is a major tonic, while Umesh Yadav and Sam Billings are among their other new recruits.

Kagiso Rabada was the leading wicket-taker in last year's tournament with 30 at 18.26 and Delhi will need him to fire again along with fellow Proteas quick Anrich Nortje.

Ravichandran Ashwin should be on a high from his Test exploits for India against England, while the in-form Pant can thrive as skipper with Shreyas Iyer ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

MORRIS UNDER PRESSURE TO JUSTIFY PRICE TAG

Chris Morris became the most expensive signing in IPL history when he was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for 16.25crore (around £1.6million).

That staggering fee put the South Africa all-rounder ahead of Yuvraj Singh (16cr) as the biggest ever auction acquisition.

Morris was 20th on the list of the leading wicket-takers last year when featuring for RCB and only batted five times, with a top score of 25 not out.

 

ROY TO REUNITE WITH BAIRSTOW

England batsman Roy went unsold at auction but was drafted in by Sunrisers Hyderabad last week after Mitchell Marsh withdrew for personal reasons.

Sunrisers coach Trevor Bayliss was clearly excited by the prospect of Roy and Jonny Bairstow forming a pairing that has served England so well.

Roy may have to wait for his opportunity or Sunrisers could tinker with the order, as captain David Warner and Bairstow have formed a dangerous opening pairing.

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