Virender Sehwag struck a destructive half-century as Delhi Daredevils secured a six-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Ahmedabad last night. The Royals, put into bat, squandered a good start and were restricted to a below-par 141 for six despite a steady 53 from Abhishek Jhunjhunwala.
Sehwag then smashed a ferocious 75 off 34 deliveries and Dinesh Karthik made an unbeaten 23 as the Daredevils eclipsed that target in 17.1 overs to hand the Royals their second straight defeat. The Royals' innings began in blazing fashion but soon fizzled after a clatter of wickets. The opener Swapnil Asnodkar (five) was caught by Tillakeratne Dilshan off the bowling of Dirk Nannes in the second over, Naman Ojha (24) departed immediately after hitting Amit Mishra for consecutive fours and a six and Graeme Smith (18) holed out in the deep after showing positive intent during his 17-ball knock.
The Royals suffered a further setback when Farveez Maharoof, who was smashed for 24 in his first two overs with the new ball, snared Yusuf Pathan, who had hit a century off just 37 balls on Saturday, for a five-ball duck. Those blows brought Jhunjhunwala and Paras Dogra (29) together but the Royals' recovery was painfully slow, and the next five overs yielded a paltry 12 runs. The duo lifted the total with a 60-run stand, but just when they looked ready to take the attack to the Daredevils, Dogra was run out and the Royals again lost steam.
Jhunjhunwala was soon left to fight a lone battle and the middle-order batsman reached his maiden IPL half-century with a boundary off the last delivery, his knock coming off 45 balls. Sehwag, a failure in the previous game against Kings XI Punjab, got the Daredevils' chase off to a fiery start, but Dimitri Mascarenhas gave the Royals a glimmer of hope by removing opener Gautam Gambhir (nine) and Dilshan with consecutive deliveries.
Those blows only seemed to spur Sehwag and he continued with renewed vigour. The right hander, who was reprieved on 41 by Shaun Tait, reached his half-century off only 21 deliveries and added 25 more to his score before Smith held a brilliant catch to get rid of the opener. Sehwag's blitz left the Daredevils needing only 42 from the last 10 overs, but the wicket of AB de Villiers (15) provided another twist and the visitors - for the second time in as many matches - laboured over the finish line. * With agencies
Rajasthan Royals: Swapnil Asnodkar c Dilshan b Nannes 5 Graeme Smith c Sehwag b Sangwan 18 Naman Ojha b Mishra 24 Yusuf Pathan c de Villiers b Maharoof 0 Abhishek Jhunjhunwala not out 53 Paras Dogra run out (Gambhir/Mishra) 29 Dimitri Mascarenhas run out (Mishra/Karthik) 3 Amit Uniyal not out 4 Extras (w 5) 5 Total (for six wickets in 20 overs) 141 Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-45, 3-46, 4-50, 5-110, 6-115 Bowling: Farveez Maharoof 4-0-32-1 Dirk Nannes 4-0-27-1 Amit Mishra 4-0-34-1 Pradeep Sangwan 4-0-20-1 Sarabjit Ladda 4-0-28-0 Delhi Daredevils: Gautam Gambhir c Smith b Mascarenhas 9 Virender Sehwag c Smith b Patel 75 Tillekaratne Dilshan c Ojha b Mascarenhas 0 AB de Villiers c sub (FY Fazal) b Warne 15 Dinesh Karthik not out 23 Mithun Manhas not out 11 Extras (b 1, lb 3, w 5) 9 Total (for four wickets in 17.1 overs) 142 Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-42, 3-99, 4-114 Bowling: Dimitri Mascarenhas 4-0-31-2 Shaun Tait 4-0-26-0 Munaf Patel 3-0-32-1 Amit Uniyal 2-0-25-0 Shane Warne 4-0-22-1 Abhishek Jhunjhunwala 0.1-0-2-0