Yusuf blitz ends Daredevils’ winning streak (Lead)

April 29th, 2009 - 1:51 am ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Centurion, April 29 (IANS) Yusuf Pathan struck a blazing unbeaten half-century as defending champions Rajasthan Royals snapped Delhi Daredevils’ winning streak with a five-wicket victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at SuperSport Park here Tuesday.
Rajasthan Royals’ bowlers managed well to restrict the powerful batting line-up of Delhi Daredevils to 147 with A B de Villiers top-scoring with 50.

The shuffling of the batting order worked wonders for Royals as Pathan, coming down the order, smacked 61 of just 30 balls while Graeme Smith scored an unbeaten 44 to see the team through with nine balls to spare.

After three straight wins, Dardevils slumped to their first loss, even as Rajasthan Royals continue to impress with their depleted side, registering their second win in five matches.

Master strategist Shane Warne again came up trumps with his plans as his changes in the batting order and clever shuffling of the bowlers caught the Daredevils unaware.

In-form Pathan, who helped Royals clinch a cliff-hanger against Kolkata Knight Riders through the Super Over, came at seventh down and was at his belligerent best, hitting six sixes and three boundaries to end the match in a jiffy.

Pathan, though, lived dangerously as was dropped by Pradeep Sangwan once while mistiming some of his shots in vacant areas.

Rajastahn Royals lost their first three wickets for 34 runs before Smith and Ravindra Jadeja added 29 runs. Jadeja and Warne fell in the same over of Amit Mishra (3-34) and Royals were staring down the barrel at 64 for five in 11 overs.

The game looked to be slipping away from Royals but Pathan’s telling blows dramatically changed the equation. Smith anchored the innings at the other end with Pathan ripping apart the bowlers.

He cut loose against Daniel Vettori, hitting him for two sixes and a four in the 13th over and kept up the pressure on the bowlers from there on.

Earlier, Warne kept shuffling his bolwers, never allowing the Daredevils’ batsmen to settle down.

It seemed as if Daredevils were in for a run-feast as Virender Sehwag disdainful flicked Dmitri Mascarenhas (2-28) to the fine-leg boundary for a six in the first over. But Mascarenhas struck twice in the next over, dismissing the dangerous opening duo of Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.

Warne (2-32) held on to a blinder at slip to get rid of Gambhir while Sehwag mistimed his shot and was safely pouched by Kamran Khan. They were soon reduced to four for 49.

The Rajasthan bowlers gave nothing away and AB De Villiers took his time to score 50 off 40 balls with five fours and one six. Vettori scored 29 while Mithun Manhas hit an unbeaten 23.

Munaf Patel was the pick of the bowlers, giving away only 14 runs for two wickets in four overs.

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