It was a perfect day for Delhi Daredevils as their bowlers succeeded in restricting the Rajasthan team for a total of 142 followed by a scintillating performance by Sehwag who blasted eight fours and five sixes in his 75 that came in just 34 balls. His fireworks helped the Delhi to chase the modest target of 143 with 17 balls to spare.
Take a bow to the lone fighter Abhishek Jhunjhunwala who contributed with 55 that took Rajasthan to a respectable total of 143. But this ICL returnee’s innings went into dark as Sehwag started off in a flamboyant style to strike the ball in his customary style. Sehwag didn’t leave any bowler before he was out by the last ball of 10th over in the bowling of Munaf Patel.
One of the world’s best openers gave one of the best starts a team could have as the team scored one run short of 100 before Sehwag fell for 75. Sehwag started his cameo from the first over as he struck Mascarehnas to two boundaries. This was followed by Tait’s over in which he cut the ball fiercely through the point and Munaf Patel, who was dispatched over long-off for a six and past mid-on for a boundary the next over, were the next in line.
After bearing the brunt of Sehwag’s blazing blade, Mascarenhas came back to dismiss Gautam Gambhir (9) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (0) off two successive deliveries in his second over. Gambhir was caught at mid-on after mis-timing a pull and Dilshan registered his second consecutive golden duck of IPL-3 when wicketkeeper Naman Ojha held a sharp edge off his bat.
Though Rajasthan got a double strike on one end, they were not able to stop the Tsunami at the other end. He heaved Mascarenhas over long-off for six before slashing him through point for a boundary. In the next over, young Amit Uniyal was drained of all his confidence when Sehwag wielded his mighty willow to thrash him for two straight sixes and a heart-thumping upper-cut for four over the keeper’s head.
He skied Mascarenhas when on 41, only to be dropped by Tait while running back from short fine – another low on what’s so far been a miserable IPL for the South Australian. He was caught by Smith at mid-on in the bowling of Munaf Patel. Delhi were 99 for 3 when he fell in the 10th over, and Dinesh Karthik, with the luxury of a set platform, saw his team through.
Rajasthan who wore black arm-bands in memory of the victims of bus accident that took place in Sawai Madhopur district. After Asnodkar struck a blazing cover drive that was followed by two boundaries by Graeme Smith in the first over, Dirik Nannes took charge of Delhi’s attack by removing Asnodkar.
While Smith and Naman Ojha (24) continued to slaughter Maharoof, Nannes did the damage control from the other end with his accurate bowling medium pacers. Gambhir introduced Amit Mishra in what turned out to be a dramatic fourth over.
Ojha struck two sixers and a four in the first three balls but was beaten by Mishra’s googly that brought Delhi back into the game. Maharoof who was murdered by the top order came back beautifully by picking the century hero Yusuf Pathan for a duck in the deep.
After losing three quick wickets, the Royals needed Smith to play a long innings and bail them out of trouble, but it was not to be. The Proteas skipper top edged a Pradeep Sangwan delivery and Sehwag completed a juggling catch at mid-wicket, leaving the royals struggling at 54 for 4 after nine overs.
It was the local players Paras Dogra and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala who took the responsibility of taking the team to a respectable score. These two took time to settle and they decided to get on the bowlers and they took advantage of debutant leg-spinner Sarabjit Ladda by pounding him for 17 runs in his third over where as he gave only 4 runs in his first two overs.
But the resurgence was cut short by some pathetic running between the wickets that saw first Dogra and then Dimitri Mascarenhas (3) being caught short of their crease. Jhunjhunwala stayed as the top scorer as he raised the momentum in the last overs to bring a respectable score to his team.
The conditions in Ahmedabad were hardly favourable with the dust from the parking lots surrounding the stadium kicking in, and adding to the haze from the floodlights. The surge of moths, flying across the pitch as well as the outfield, proved another irritant.