Gambhir, Dhawan steer Delhi Daredevils to easy win

April 20th, 2008 - 1:29 am ICT by admin  

(Match report)
By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan struck half-centuries as Delhi Daredevils scored an emphatic nine-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in their first match of the Indian Premier League here Saturday night. After restricting Royals to a paltry 129, the Daredevils reached the target effortlessly at a packed, floodlit Ferozshah Kotla Stadium.

The match started with a breathtaking stunt by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, brand partner of the team. The crowd was still trickling in when Akshay performed a daredevil stunt amidst fireworks to welcome the IPL bandwagon at the historic ground.

GMR group, owner of the Daredevils team, had promised an innovative and different opening and Akshay’s performance certainly was a winner.

As the crowd almost filled the 40,000-capacity spruced up ground, the roars got deafening and so was the anticipation of a high-octane Twenty20 game - quite like the extraordinary beginning given by Brendon McCullum in Bangalore Friday evening.

The atmosphere was electric, but the Rajasthan Royals faded out in comparison to the two other teams — Knight Riders and Super Kings — who batted first and produced 200-plus scores in the first two IPL matches.

Ravindra Jadeja (29) and the little-known Dinesh Salunkhe (26 not out) saw to it that Royals put up a decent score of 129 runs for eight wickets.

Glenn McGrath (4-21) might be out of action for a year but he certainly did not look like one. The ‘Pigeon’ was sharp as usual and meant business right from the first ball of the innings after visitors Rajasthan Royals elected to bat first.

Rajat Bhatia was the pick of the Delhi bowlers, claiming four wickets for 17 runs. McGrath was right up with his nagging off-stump line and made the batsmen’s task difficult.

Young Turuwar Kohli was clueless in the very first over as McGrath operated with

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