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Jaipur's win sends Delhi into semis

Jaipur team pull off a thrilling victory over Mumbai, helping Delhi secure a semi-finals spot, reports Varun Gupta.

cricket Updated: May 27, 2008 13:23 IST
Varun Gupta

In the end, it was Siddharth Trivedi who proved the killjoy. For 10 overs, a fidgety, confused crowd squirmed, crooned, and craved (with bated breath), hoping for a sight that has eluded world cricket for eight long years.

It was 10 years ago, in the desert of Sharjah that Sachin Tendulkar had first given Shane Warne "nightmares".

In the capital of Rajasthan, the spectre of yet another "desert storm" loomed large, especially with Sachin still at the crease when Warne removed his cap, measured his run up, tweaked a couple in his hands, contemplated his delivery, bit his lip, and finally set off in his languid manner to bowl at his "favourite cricketer".

<b1>It was what they had come to witness, a contest between their heartthrob for 20 years and someone whose has cut across cultural prejudices and national boundaries to emerge as their new idol, Warne.

However, barely had their appetite been whetted, when in came the rangy Trivedi, a mere pawn in the battle of kings.

But as the impact of pawns normally is, his too was decisive. Trivedi completely flummoxed Sachin, ironically, with a leg-cutter that the Master didn't pick at all, only managing to get a leading edge that Trivedi gleefully collected.

It was an anti-climactic end to an innings that had threatened a lot but didn't deliver as an unusually subdued Sachin went for 30 and Mumbai stuttered to 145 for seven.

But the thing in greatness is, it manifests itself in seemingly impossible ways, and what Sachin and Sanath couldn't do with the bat, they did, not with the ball, but in the field.

Having found themselves in the uncharted territory at 77 for four, Jaipur hopes rested on Shane Watson and Mohammad. Kaif to pull things back. However, within a space of three deliveries, two men with battered bodies but sharp minds pulled two rabbits out of their hats.

First, Jayasuriya ran out Kaif with his presence of mind, and then Tendulkar ran like the wind and snagged the sharpest of catches to dismiss Watson. Six down, game over, it seemed.

Niraj Patel and Ravindra Jadeja might be unheralded and underplayed, but today they showed the experience, taking Jaipur to a nerve-wracking four-wicket win off the last ball.

Patel and Jadeja needed 49 in the last four overs and 15 in the last. Patel took a single off the first ball of the last over, bowled by Dilhara Fernando. Jadeja purloined three from the next, Patel smote a six off the third, and two singles followed the next two deliveries as Jaipur required three from the last ball. Fernando bowled a wide down the legside as two were needed off the last ball.

Patel mishit that one straight down the ground, a shot deprived off the force and one that Fernando should have collected. However, he made a hash of it as the ball went past him.

Jadeja, the non-striker, ran for his life to complete the double as Dwayne Smith, the long-on fieldsman collected the ball and threw it back.

A tie seemed on the cards but Jayasuriya, ironically, fumbled at the bowler's end and Jaipur completed an astonishing win. It put Delhi in the semi-finals.

Had Jayasuriya collected cleanly, it would have been a tie. But Sach is life.