Rahul Dravid and Johan Botha chipped in with useful contributions as Rajasthan Royals registered a comprehensive six-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.
After restricting Delhi to 151 for six, Rajasthan overhauled the target with nine balls to spare at the floodlit Sawai Man Singh stadium, to hand over the Daredevils their second consecutive defeat in the league.
Dravid (38) hit six fours and a six in his 31-ball stay while Botha produced an unbeaten 39 off 32 deliveries.
With 11 runs required from the last two overs, New Zealander Ross Taylor (18) cracked a four off Ashok Dinda and then hit him for a huge six over midwicket boundary.
The hosts made 152 for four in 18.3 overs. Chasing a stiff 152-run target, Dravid (38) started proceeding on an aggressive note as 26 runs came in the first three overs.
Dravid hit two fours off Dinda in the third over to make his intention clear. But Dinda soon got his act together and disturbed Paunikar’s stumps with a full length delivery.
Sehwag introduced Irfan Pathan in the fourth over and Dravid took him for special treatment, clobbering him for two fours and a six to accumulate 15 runs.
Next change van der Merwe also got the same treatment as both Dravid and Botha, who came to the crease after the dismissal of Paunikar, hit him for three fours to take the home team’s score past 50 in 5.3 overs.
But ven der Merwe soon took his revenge in the form of Dravid’s wicket, who was caught by wicketkeeper Naman Ojha while trying to slice the ball towards point.
Local boy Ashok Maneria (22) teamed up with Botha as both kept the scoreboard tickling with occasional boundaries.
Maneria was more aggressive of the two as he clobbered van der Merwe for two sixes in the 10th over to bring the asking rate under eight runs per over.
Pathan, who hardly looked threatening in his first spell, was again bought back into the attack by Sehwag, and he responded by accounting for Maneria’s wicket.
It was a short of length delivery outside off and Menaria punched it straight to Sehwag at short extra cover.
Ajinkya Rahane (18), who was included in the playing eleven in place of Stuart Binny, hit Pathan for a six to take the team’s total past 100-run mark in 12.1 overs.
Morkel accounted for Rahane’s wicket in the 16th over as the right-hander went for an ugly across-the-line hook.
Botha and Taylor then took Rajasthan home without any further damage.
For Delhi Dinda, Morkel, Pathan, Merwe got one wicket apiece.
Earlier, electing to bat after winning the toss, opener David Warner and Venugopal Rao struck brisk half-centuries to rescue Daredevils from a dismal start and steer them to a fighting 151 for six.
Warner (54) and Rao (60) put on a 83-run partnership for the fifth wicket as Daredevils, from 29 for two in five overs and 36 for four in eight, rallied to cross the 100-run mark.
Warner struck six fours and a six in his 44-ball innings, while Rao hit four fours and as many sixes during his 40-ball stay to lift Delhi from a precarious situation.
The visitors were off to a dismal start losing two wickets in the form of skipper Virender Sehwag (4) and Aaron Finch (11) inside the first six overs.
Sehwag’s decision to bat on a placid Jaipur track backfired as Rajasthan’s Australian import Shaun Tait struck early to leave the visitors reeling at 30 for 2 in six overs.
Tait, who replaced injured New Zealander Jacob Oram in the side, dismissed the dangerous Sehwag in his first over.
The India opener, who hit Tait for four through cover point off his second ball, created room for himself on the very next delivery only to edge the ball, which Dravid pouched effortlessly at first slip.
Next man-in, Finch, hit the first six of Delhi innings when he clobbered South African spinner Johan Botha over wide midwicket in the third over to somewhat break the deadlock.
But his exploits soon came to an end when the Australian responded late to a bouncer from Tait, lobbying a simple catch to Botha at mid-on.
The experienced speedster mixed aggression with pace as he used the windy conditions to devastating effect.
Skipper Warne introduced himself in the eighth over and spun a web around Delhi’s batsmen as he dismissed Unmukt Chand (2) and Naman Ojha (0) in quick succession.
Warner and Rao then came together and did the repair work as they took the score past 50-run mark in 10.4 overs.
They steadied the ship for the Delhi team, which had started the tournament with a big defeat to Mumbai Indians.
Warner reached his half century off 40 balls, while Rao a little quicker, at 37 balls.
After Warner departed, caught by Abhishek Raut off pacer Amit Singh in the 18th over, Rao punished the Rajasthan bowlers, especially Siddharth Trivedi, clobbering him for two huge sixes.
But Trivedi had the last laugh as Rao was caught by Warne at deep midwicket off Trivedi’s slower one.
Irfan Pathan (9) hit Tait for two consecutive fours in the last over to take Delhi past the 150 mark.
Besides Tait and Warne, Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi bagged a wicket each.
Rajasthan Royals: Amit Paunikar, Abhishek Raut, Rahul Dravid, Ross Taylor, Ajinkya Rahane, Johan Botha, Ashok Menaria, Shane Warne (capt), Amit Singh, Siddharth Trivedi, Shaun Tait.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (capt), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Unmukt Chand, Naman Ojha, Y Venugopal Rao, Irfan Pathan, Roelof van der Merwe, Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ashok Dinda.
Umpires: Aleem Dar and Russell Tiffin
Third Umpire: Sanjay Hazare
Match referee: Andy Pycroft