"We've probably done it the hard way tonight, but the boys are really starting to believe in themselves." AFP

Sherfane Rutherford and Axar Patel shared a crucial unbeaten stand of 46 while the bowlers held their nerves as Delhi Capitals overcame Royal Challengers Bangalore to chart their way to the playoffs for the first time in the IPL since 2012. Ricky Ponting, the head coach, observed that there is a strong belief in the camp with DC now perched at the top of the points table with 16.

After a string of poor performances over a period of time, DC tried to revamp the side with Shreyas Iyer being named the captain and Ponting taking over the coaching role. "We've probably done it the hard way tonight, but the boys are really starting to believe in themselves, they are trusting one another, and playing some good cricket. So all in all, we are pretty happy with where we're at," said Ponting on Sunday (April 29).

"You want to be peaking at the right time, so for us to bounce back after a five-day break and win tonight was a really good thing," he noted. "We go to Chennai now, which is a hard place for anybody to win, so that's a great challenge for us. To the boys' credit, we haven't really talked about where we are on the table, just getting as well-prepared and planning as well as we can for the next challenge. So yeah, we've qualified, that's really great, but two big games to go, and the target now will be to finish one or two."

Meanwhile, the loss ended Bangalore's chances of progressing to the next phase. The franchise had a poor start to the season but rebounded nicely, winning four out of five games only for their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs being engulfed in smoke after losing to Delhi.

Virat Kohli, the Bangalore skipper, noted that they could have restricted Delhi to a score of around 160. He also pointed out that during crunch moments of the game, the home side played better. "Even after losing the toss, the way we bowled was really nice, we showed a lot of character. But then the game got away from us at the end a little bit. We were thinking 160-165, but 185-plus on that sort of a pitch with three spinners was always going to be tough. But we still showed a lot of character.

"In the crunch moments, I think Delhi played better than us. That's why they got the result they did. But yeah, with the bat we started off really well, PP [Parthiv Patel] was outstanding, then I got going, but then me and AB [de Villiers] getting out to balls that you don't get out to... so, yeah, that's how the game goes sometimes, and those little moments can be big at the end of the game."