Royal Challengers Bangalore went full green on Sunday (April 7) but it was Kagiso Rabada and Shreyas Iyer who danced to the rhythm of "Green Day" as Delhi Capitals ensured the Virat Kohli-led side remained winless in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League.
The two contributed immensely as Delhi won the encounter by four wickets and handed Bangalore a sixth straight defeat.
Asked to bat, Rabada destroyed Bangalore's batting unit and restricted them to just 149 for 8 on a two-paced track. The 23-year-old took 4 for 21 and never allowed Bangalore to get going. In response, Iyer scored a solid 50-ball 67, but there was a small collapse before Delhi went past the total.
The fast bowling trio of Ishant Sharma, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada bowled with great discipline in the powerplay and that forced Bangalore batsmen to commit errors. Parthiv Patel, who has been in pretty decent form this season, was connecting well but couldn't clear the field, and eventually ended up edging one to the third man. The left-hander only managed 9 before becoming Morris' first victim.
With Kohli playing the role of a sheet anchor, AB de Villiers, who has done extremely well against the Delhi-based franchise in the past, took the onus of going after the bowlers. The former South Africa batsmen slammed Morris for a maximum over deep mid-wicket before cracking Ishant past cover-point in the very next over and it looked like the South African was slowing starting to cut loose.
However, it was de Villiers' fellow countryman Rabada who scripted his downfall. The right-hander picked up the slower delivery and tried going over the head of the bowler but couldn't get his timing right and was caught by a third South African - Colin Ingram - at mid on. Just like de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis managed to spend some time in the middle but couldn't capitalise, falling to Axar Patel.
The home team were 66 for 3 at the end of 11 overs and they were in a desperate need of acceleration. With Kohli trying to bat the full overs, Moeen Ali came out all guns blazing and smoked Axar over the cow corner fence. The left-hander from England kept the attack going and hit two more maximums before being undone by Sandeep Lamichhane's googly.
Shreyas Iyer raises his bat after completing half-century (Image: IPL)
Kohli finally opened his shoulders in the 17th over when he smashed Lamichhane for consecutive sixes but before he could do any more damage, Rabada returned to have him caught at long on for a 33-ball 41. The right-arm pacer then also accounted for Akshdeep Nath (19), who looked cheeky during his brief stay, and Pawan Negi in the same over to not just complete his four-wicket haul but also ensure that Bangalore had no frontline batsman to cause destruction in the final two overs.
Bangalore needed an early wicket and they got one from Tim Southee as the New Zealand paceman dismissed Shikhar Dhawan for a duck in the very first over. The left-handed batsman went for a booming drive and got an outside edge that flew to short third man. However, Bangalore's enthusiasm was short-lived as Prithvi Shaw collected five consecutive fours, including a leg bye, in Southee's next over to once again tilt the momentum in Delhi's favour.
Bangalore pacers weren't as effective as Delhi's and Kohli was forced to introduce Yuzvendra Chahal early in the innings. Both Shaw and Iyer were cautious against the legspinner but it was Negi who provided Bangalore the second breakthrough, sending Shaw back for 22-ball 28.
Meanwhile, Iyer mixed caution with aggression and kept the scoreboard moving. The Delhi skipper kept finding boundaries at regular intervals and formed a crucial 39-run stand with Colin Ingram. The South African only managed 22 but did his job before falling to Moeen.
Iyer, however, ensured there was no collapse and went on to bring up his 11th IPL fifty. The 24-year-old, who hit eight fours and two sixes, perished on the brink of Delhi's third victory, and so did Morris (nought) - both to Navdeep Saini. With just five runs needed, Rishabh Pant (18) once again failed to show maturity and hit one straight to the mid-off fielder, leaving everyone in the Delhi camp perplexed.
However, there was no repeat of Kolkata Knight Riders-clash as Axar carved one through the off side to get his team over the line.