An insipid performance on the field both in bowling and fielding departments, and a top-order choke sealed Delhi's exit from the inaugural IPL tournament even as Jaipur burst into the final with a typically stylish and convincing showing. Shane Warne has conjured many heroes in the course of this tournament and in the first knockout match it was Shane Watson who led the charge scoring crucial runs and picking up all the wickets that mattered as Jaipur triumphed by 105 runs.
Graeme Smith, troubled by a hamstring injury that recurred, and aided by a runner, combined with Swapnil Asnodkar to get Jaipur racing off the blocks after Virender Sehwag chose to field even though the pitch looked a batting belter. Asnodkar was decidedly chancy, slashing, spearing and edging the ball about but Smith stood still and plundered. The 50 came up in only 5.3 overs, and even when Farveez Maharoof removed both openers with the score on 76, Jaipur were ahead of the game.
<b1>Smith (25) heaved one to leg and Shikhar Dhawan ran off the ropes at square-leg to take a sharp catch diving forward. Maharoof got one to bounce extra and Asnodkar (39) could not control a forcing shot, finding point.
Muscle among mayhem
After Delhi got a foot in the door, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Kaif and other lower-order batsmen fell without making a serious impact but two musclemen, Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan, landed such heavy blows that Delhi were left reeling. Watson used the crease well, moving forward and back, lining the ball up early and playing late, striking the ball sweetly over the infield. Two front-foot pulls off Yomahesh landed in the stands and Amit Mishra was picked up and deposited over midwicket.
Mishra bowled largely without luck. He finally broke through when Watson (52) gave him the charge and was deceived in the flight, and stumped by a long way.
Watson went with the score on 155, but the counterpunching continued unabated through Pathan. He focussed on his hitting zone back down the ground and was more than happy to drive through the line whenever a length ball came his way. Pathan cleared the ropes four times in addition to three fours, and when he was dismissed in the last over, Jaipur had managed 192.
The kiss of death
Watson showed just why some people rate him the best allrounder in the business, bowling with his tail up and picking up the wickets that mattered the most when it counted. He hit the deck harder than any other bowler on the day and extracted steep bounce at better-than-brisk pace, drawing the error from Sehwag who pulled from outside the off and only ballooned the ball towards square-leg for purple-cap wearer Tanvir to sprint 25 yards and complete a good catch.
Gautam Gambhir was repeatedly beaten by the short ball and a desperate attempt to move to leg and carve the ball over the off side only resulted in a sharp catch at cover for substitute fielder Taruwar Kohli. When Shikhar Dhawan tamely pulled straight to square-leg Delhi had lost all their best batsmen with 24 on the board and Watson, with a first spell of 3-0-10-3 had blown Delhi the kiss of death. The rest of the innings was a mere formality, with Delhi limping to 87 in 16.1 overs. Route to semis | Pics | Full scorecard | Also read Poonam Saxena's column