Sunday, April 20, 2008

Delhi Daredevils thrash Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in IPL

Delhi Daredevils thrashed Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in a disappointingly one-sided game in the Indian Premier League here at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground on Saturday.

Rajasthan didn't have a chance after their batsmen had floundered badly, putting up a dismal 129 on the board.

Gautam Gambhir's unbeaten 58, and his 112-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan - who helped himself to a half-century as well - finished off the run-chase in a mere 15.1 overs.

Rajasthan won the toss and captain Shane Warne decided to bat but after some aggressive batting by Taruwar Kohli the game took a turn.

Two quick run-outs severely hampered Rajhastan’s momentum and when Mohammad Kaif, who struggled to find the gaps and the runs, scooped one to Geeves at short fine leg, Rajasthan had slumped to 57 for 5.

In a team which had the immense figures of McGrath and Daniel Vettori in their bowling line-up, the hero of the day was Farveez Maharoof, who bowled with excellent control, changing his pace and offering the batsmen no width to score off. His dismissal of Darren Lehmann, who was trapped on the shuffle, was another blow to Rajasthan's hopes of getting a challenging total on the board.

Ravindra Jadeja, the left-hand batsman, offered some resistance, hitting Vettori for a six and a four off his first two balls, but Vettori had the last laugh, deceiving him with a quicker one which rattled the stumps. Warne and Dinesh Salunkhe ensured that Delhi needed to score at more than a run a ball, but on a flat pitch against a batting line-up which included Virender Sehwag and Gambhir at the top of the order, there was little chance of defending that score.

Their opening partnership lasted just ten balls, but it was enough to set the tone for the run-chase. Gambhir's slash and straight drive in the first over off Munaf Patel both found the boundary, while Sehwag had the home crowd on their feet and cheering wildly after just three balls, all of which sped to different parts of the ground: a lofted straight drive over Watson's head, a spanking pull through midwicket, and then the best shot of them all - a delectable late cut between the wicketkeeper and slip. That, unfortunately, was as good as it got, as Watson hit back, ripping a quick one which rattled the stumps off the pads.

Nothing could stop Gambhir, though, as he continued the Twenty20 form he had shown in the World Cup in South Africa. An audacious extra-cover drive for six and a late cut off Munaf quickly brought the asking rate below a run a ball, after which it was a cool canter.

Rajasthan's one hope was Warne, but Gambhir and Dhawan didn't allow him to settle in either, sweeping and pulling him for fours even as Warne's reactions suggested he was only a whisker away from a wicket. He pulled himself off the attack after just two overs, and the rest was a mere formality.

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