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Negi, Sehwag star in Delhi Daredevils’ six-wicket rout of Rajasthan Royals
By IPL desk
Mumbai 01 May 2012
Rarely has the cricketing world been blessed with an opportunity to utter two words, Sehwag and Consistency, in the same breath. If ever there was a moment for that to happen, it is this. Often accused of frustrating with his indiscretion, the Delhi Daredevils skipper left everyone in awe by becoming the first player in the history of not only the IPL but Twenty20 cricket to strike five consecutive half-centuries. Virender Sehwag blasted 73 runs off 38 balls as DD romped home by six wickets against the Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. The victory was thumping as it came with 28 balls to spare.
Chasing 142, the Daredevils lost Mahela Jayawardene for a duck to Ankeet Chavan in the first over. In his next over, Chavan was clobbered for three consecutive boundaries by Sehwag – two through midwicket and one over long-on. No bowler was spared from the Sehwag slaughter. He scored runs in every part of the ground – equally adept on the front and back foot. When on 45, Sehwag upper-cut Pankaj Singh for six, bringing up his fifty in just 20 balls. When Brad Hogg eventually got him in the 15th over, Sehwag had already cakewalked the Daredevils to the doors of victory with his blistering knock. The match-winning score was laced with 12 fours and a six.
Earlier, upon electing to bat first, RR threw away a great start to end up with a modest total of 141 for six.
Holding the team’s innings together while wickets keep tumbling over all around him; Rahul Dravid has been in such a situation innumerable times during his 15-year-long international career. In this match, the RR skipper once again found himself playing the role of a “Wall”.
The Royals’ innings began with what has now become a norm – an elegant Dravid-Rahane opening partnership, of 71 runs. However, the calm created by the two classical batsmen was broken by a storm called Pavan Negi. After the first wicketless over, the 19-year-old left-arm spinner got rid of Ajinkya Rahane (42 off 32 balls), Shane Watson (8), Brad Hodge (1) and Ashok Menaria (2) in his next three. Negi’s best Twenty20 figures of four for 18 derailed RR’s campaign to post a formidable target against the dangerous DD batting line-up. With Umesh Yadav scalping Owais Shah (1), RR lost four of their main batsmen for a single digit score.
Despite all the chaos around him, Dravid stood unperturbed. Each of his seven fours was a little lesson in batsmanship. They came all round the wicket through the typical Dravid-like cover-drives, flicks and backfoot punches. The melody ended when Dravid missed a shortish delivery from Morne Morkel, which hit his stumps after brushing his pads. Dravid departed for 57 off 43 balls.
Chasing 187 to win, PWI began their innings in disastrous fashion. Manish Pandey (0) replicated the Chargers’ start by getting out off the first ball of the innings after hitting it straight into Sangakkara’s welcoming hands. The Chargers had their tails up with the quick wicket, and looked like pressing home the advantage. But the Warriros had quite the fight left in them. Sourav Ganguly and Michael Clarke consolidated the innings with some responsible batting. The Indo-Aussie duo put on a 90-run partnership that brought the visitors back into the game.
Clarke’s (41) stint in the middle came to an end after the right-hander tried to steal a sneaky double and got run-out. 90 for two quickly changed to 96 for three after Ganguly’s (45) cover drive off Shikhar Dhawan found Cameron White. Another mini-comeback led by Steve Smith (47*) and Robin Uthappa (26) meant that the visitors required 52 runs off the last three overs. But it proved to be too steep a task for the Warriors as the Chargers restricted them to 173 for five to win by 13 runs.
Earlier, the Chargers needed some inspiration to arrest their poor form in the IPL. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara decided to bat first after winning the toss. The decision didn’t go according to plan as Parthiv Patel (0) nicked the first delivery of the innings onto his stumps. A poor start was the last thing the Chargers needed, but it got worse for the bottom-placed side. Shikhar Dhawan (13) couldn’t continue his good form as Bhuvneshwar Kumar hit timber in the fifth over to reduce the home side to 23 for two.
DC was struggling to get their innings going thanks to some tight bowling from the Pune Warriors India. With the momentum firmly with the visitors, it was time for the home side’s big names to fire; and they got going just at the right time. Sangakkara and White showcased their array of attacking shots to put the away side on the back foot. Their onslaught started in the 14th over as the DC skipper plundered four boundaries off Samuels. With the wind in their sails, Sangakkara (82) and White (74) put on a brilliant 157-run partnership to help the Chargers finish their innings at 186 for four in 20 overs. Scorecard
Man-of-the-match: Kumar Sangakkara for leading the Deccan Chargers from the front and scoring 82 runs (off 52 balls; 10x4, 2x6) and taking two catches