Rajasthan Royals rout Daredevils to storm into IPL final

May 31st, 2008 - 1:56 am ICT by admin  

Mumbai, May 31 (IANS) Shane Watson starred with bat and ball as Rajasthan Royals forced Delhi Daredevils to a timid capitulation by 105 runs in a lopsided contest to storm into the final of the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede Stadium here Friday. Set a stiff target of 193, the Delhi Daredevils innings crumbled for 87 on a lively pitch, exploited to the hilt by the likes of Watson (3-10), Munaf Patel (3-17) and Shane Warne (2-21), who ensured a steady stream of batsmen back to the pavilion.

Virender Sehwag-led Daredevils did not show any daredevilry on the field and churned out their worst performance in the face of an aggressive all-round display by Rajasthan Royals.

Rajasthan Royals showed once again how a team effort can lift a side out of the doldrums. They had suffered a heavy defeat in their last league match against Kings XI Punjab but Friday night they were back to business.

After openers Graeme Smith (25 off 21) and Swapnil Asnodkar (39 off 21) had given their side a decent beginning, putting 65 runs for the first wicket, brilliant attacking knocks from Watson (52) and Yusuf Pathan (45) ensured that their innings never slacked, even as wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

Watson underlined his valuable presence with another all-round show. He was the batting mainstay and and then grabbed the first three wickets for 10 runs to break the back of the Delhi Darevedils’ batting. His performance won him his fourth man of the match award in the tournament.

The target was definitely challenging, but not beyond the reach of a side that has batsmen of the calibre of Sehwag, Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan. However, the rot set in with the captain, who departed for three and none of the other batsmen seemed ready to stand up there and be counted.

Gambhir and Dhawan perished in quick succession and a short but sweet knock from Tillakaratne Dilshan (33) provided some respite before the edifice crumbled. Watson and Munaf used the bouncer to great effect to grab three wickets, while spin wizard Shane Warne gobbled up two. A senseless run out of Mohammad Asif typified Delhi Daredevils’ nonsensical performance on the field.

Put into bat by Sehwag, it was slow, cautious start for Rajasthan Royals as Smith, returning after two matches and Asnodkar treated seam king Glenn McGrath with respect.

However, the plucky opener from Goa soon took things into his hands, a streaky shot that fell short of Sehwag at second slip from McGrath’s second over setting him free. He then thumped Asif for three boundaries before Smith cut loose, hitting McGrath for three fours and the Royals were firmly on their way.

The loss of both the openers at 65 to Ferveez Maharoof (3-34)and the early exit of the promoted Sohail Tanvir put a brake on the proceedings but the ever dependable Watson once again helped the innings build momentum with a quick 52.

Watson got into fine rhythm pulling two short deliveries for sixes from Yo Mahesh off the front foot and then hoisted Amit Mishra (2-37) from outside the off stump over deep mid wicket.

After Kaif departed early, his dismal showing with the bat continuing, Yusuf Pathan came good again with a knock of 45 before being run out and Rajasthan Royals were assured of a challenging total to defend.

Pathan, who earlier in the day earned his maiden team India call-up in ODIs for Bangladesh and Pakistan, brimmed with confidence. He was at his aggressive best, hitting Mishra for two huge sixes in the 16th over, then sending Maharoof over the ropes in the next and the best coming in the 19th over bowled by McGrath, two fours and one six.

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