Jaipur, April 23: Ajinkya Rahane's magnificent century was in vain as Rishabh Pant blasted Delhi Capitals to a six-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals which put them top of the Indian Premier League.
The Royals had little margin for error in their bid to make the play-offs and Rahane showed he is not feeling sorry for himself after being sacked as captain by scoring a brilliant 105 not out from only 63 balls.
Steve Smith, who was appointed as skipper on Saturday, made 50 from 32 deliveries in the Royals' total of 191-6 in Jaipur on Monday.
But that was not enough to deny the Capitals top spot, Pant smashing an unbeaten 78 from just 36 balls after another half-century from the in-form Shikhar Dhawan (54 off 27).
Prithvi Shaw also chipped in with 42 for a Delhi side that moved level on points with Chennai Super Kings, who have a game in hand.
RAHANE SHOWS HIS CLASS WITH HELP FROM ISHANT
Rahane silenced his critics in emphatic fashion after enduring a difficult few days.
Sanju Samson was run out without facing a ball following a mix-up with Rahane, who was then dropped by Ishant Sharma with only 16 to his name.
The classy opener made amends with an outstanding knock, racing to a half-century in only 32 balls and hitting three sixes and 11 fours as he batted through the innings.
WICKETS HALT ROYALS' MOMENTUM
Smith also played with fluency to score a second successive fifty, but the Royals lost their way after the skipper struck Axar Patel to Chris Morris at long off.
Ben Stokes (8) fell cheaply and there was a third consecutive golden duck for Ashton Turner as the Capitals put the brakes on.
Kagiso Rabada (2-37) struck twice in the final over, with Rajasthan failing to post 200 after losing momentum.
DHAWAN DELIVERS AGAIN, PANT FINISHES IT OFF
Dhawan played the role of chief aggressor in an opening stand of 72 with Shaw to get the Capitals ahead of the required rate.
The dangerous left hander launched Dhawal Kulkarni and Shreyas Gopal for sixes as Delhi got off to a flyer.
Gopal claimed a measure of revenge by getting him stumped, but Pant took centre stage with a match-winning knock - hitting the second ball of the last over from Jaydev Unadkat for his fourth six to send the Capitals to the summit.