Delhi secure narrow one-run win
Virender Sehwag plundered a fifty as the Delhi Daredevils held on for a narrow one-run win over the Rajasthan Royals in their IPL match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Sunday.
Sehwag bashed his way to 63 off 39 balls with eight fours and two sixes, his fourth consecutive fifty of the tournament and the first man to achieve the feat in IPL history as Delhi posted 152 for six.
Rajasthan seemed to be well on their way to victory thanks to 84 not out off 63 deliveries from Ajinkya Rahane but they fell just short as they could only muster 151 for three.
Rajasthan needed just 15 runs off the last two overs of their innings.
But speedster Morne Morkel (1-26) served up a superb penultimate over as he conceded just three runs and trapped Brad Hodge (22) leg-before.
Rahane struck a six off the third last ball of the innings, bowled by seamer Umesh Yadav but with Rajasthan needing two runs to win off the last ball Rahane and Owais Shah (1) tried to run a single with the ball already in keeper Naman Ojha’s hands.
Ojha ran Shah out at the keeper’s end as Delhi strengthened their position at the top of the table.
The defeat was particularly hard on the 23-year-old Rahane, who brought up his half-century off 40 balls.
The right-handed batsman is far from a slogger and he relied on orthodox cricket shots and wonderful touch and timing to accumulate his runs.
Rahul Dravid and Rahane gave their team a superb start to their innings as they put on 99 runs for the first wicket before Dravid fell to a superb, one-handed running catch from Ajit Agarkar at long-on off the bowling of left-arm quick Irfan Pathan.
Dravid departed for a well-constructed 40 off 38 balls with Rajasthan still needing 54 runs to win off 37 deliveries to set up the nail-biting finish.
The right-handed Sehwag had been a class apart during Delhi’s innings and he brought up his half-century off 33 deliveries.
But his dashing knock was eventually cut short when he was superbly caught by a sprawling Ashok Menaria at deep point off the bowling of left-arm wrist-spinner Brad Hogg.
Delhi, after winning the toss and electing to bat, were in early trouble as Mahela Jayawardene (6) and Kevin Pietersen (5) were both being dismissed cheaply.
Sehwag and Ross Taylor (25) resurrected the innings with a third-wicket stand of 80 off 10.1 overs.
Sehwag departed with the score on 99 and five runs later Taylor was out when he was bowled by seamer Pankaj Singh.
Delhi’s batsmen were battling to get to grips with a wicket which was becoming slower and lower as the innings wore on and Ojha (11) was the next man to depart, caught at mid-on off the bowling of seamer Amit Singh.
But Yogesh Nagar (27) and Irfan Pathan (7 not out) plundered 20 runs off the last over, bowled by Amit, to provide some late impetus for the hosts.
Pankaj finished with figures of 2-25 while Amit claimed 2-41.
DELHI DAREDEVILS – Mahela Jayawardene, Virender Sehwag (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor, Irfan Pathan, Yogesh Nagar, Naman Ojha (wk), Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Ajit Agarkar.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS – Rahul Dravid (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Owais Shah, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, Ankeet Chavan, Kevon Cooper, Brad Hogg, Pankaj Singh, Amit Singh.