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Warne bedazzles Daredevils

Opener 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 here today. Debjeet Kundu reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2011 03:20 IST
Debjeet Kundu

Shane Warne’s bowling figures after his first three deliveries, having come on to bowl the 8th over, read ‘w-0-w’. And ‘wow’ it was, literally, for the Rajasthan Royals.

On a flat wicket affording no movement whatsoever, they had Delhi Daredevils on the mat at 36 for 4. Rajasthan looked good to run away with this game, and although their rivals fought back from there, the home team still secured it by six wickets for their second straight win.

SHAKY START

The Daredevils, a drastically reshuffled group this season, desperately needed a win after the hammering they had received at the hands of Mumbai Indians on Sunday. But the tone was set in the very first over, after Virender Sehwag won the toss and chose to bat. In a Sehwag trademark, he dispatched Shaun Tait to the boundary off the first ball

he faced. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/120411/13_04_pg15b.jpg

The next flew off the edge to Rahul Dravid at first slip. The three batsmen who followed him looked as listless as the cheer girls at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, who were trying in vain to gyrate to the Bollywood hit ‘Sheila ki Jawani’.

The ploy to rotate bowlers with one-over spells shows Warne’s ingenuity no doubt, but it’s the fielding that was making the difference for Rajasthan Royals. Young guns Abhishek Raut, Ajinkya Rahane and Ashok Menaria were throwing themselves at every ball. A resolute David Warner (54) and Venugopal, who came good for the second game in a
row with a fine 60 off 40 balls, helped stitch together a competitive total.

NEAT CHASE
But 151 wasn’t going to be enough to stop the Royals at home. Rahul Dravid once again provided a typically solid start, laying the foundation as well as providing the early acceleration. A pull to dispatch Ashok Dinda for four off the very first ball he faced, showed Dravid’s silken touch.

A sharp catch by wicket keeper Naman Ojha got the better of Dravid on 38, but not before he had lofted Ifran Pathan for a six followed by a few more hits to the fence - putting to rest any doubts who will be partnering Shane Watson when the Aussie hard-hitter joins the team.

There was more trouble awaiting Delhi, in the form of a cameo from home player Maneria. A centurion in the Ranji final that Rajasthan won this year, the 22-year-old thrashed three massive sixes in his 15-ball 22.

Johan Botha, having made the number 3 position his own, completed the formality with nine balls to spare to make it two out of two for the Royals. Delhi sank deeper in the points table.