In a tournament dominated by big-hitting batsmen, in a format purpose built to break bowlers’ hearts, Delhi’s quick men showed that there was life for them even on dead pitches.
<b1>Glenn McGrath laid out the blueprint while Farveez Maharoof and Rajat Bhatia showed that this tournament did not belong merely to the big names and the millionaires. The Jaipur team, Shane Warne or not, failed to get off the ground and could only muster a feeble 129 for 8 from their 20 overs, a target that posed no problems for Delhi’s batsmen.
McGrath discarded any rustiness that might have been part of his game and hit a perfect line and length to winkle out the opening wicket of Taruwar Kohli. A couple of pressure-induced run outs later the Jaipur team was in a mess that it would not be able to extricate itself from.
While Maharoof bowled with good pace and swung the ball away from the right-handed batsmen, Bhatia stuck to his strengths, pinning the batsmen down with one line, attacking the stumps. Darren Lehmann’s exaggerated shuffle convinced the umpire to uphold Maharoof’s lbw shout when ball struck pad.
Mohammad Kaif, who was involved in the mix-up that resulted in Shane Watson’s run out, occupied the crease for an uncomfortable 9 off 19 balls before getting a bit too cute against Bhatia and chipping a catch straight to short fine-leg. What had been a troublesome 41 for 3 had turned into a disastrous 57 for 5.
Ravinder Jadeja chanced his arm gallantly to top-score with 29. But his luck ran out when he tried to clatter the ever-accurate Daniel Vettori out of the ground and connected with air, leaving the stumps in disarray.
Dinesh Salunkhe, who came into the Jaipur team after winning a talent hunt contest, chipped in with 26 and saved his team from a humiliating collapse but only pushed the score on to 129 in an innings that belonged to McGrath (1/21), Maharoof (2/11) and Bhatia (2/17).
Despite the small target, the 28,000-plus crowd largely hung around till the end to watch their team canter past the finish line.
Even the early departure of Virender Sehwag, who clattered three fours before being bowled off the fourth, did not dull the crowd’s enthusiasm. As Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan filled their boots, even the introduction of spin wizard Warne did little to change the result of the game as Delhi sauntered past Jaipur by 9 wickets.