The Delhi Daredevils pulled off daylight robbery when they beat Rajasthan Royals by one run at the Kotla. For that they have to thank the gangling Morne Morkel who bowled a nerveless penultimate over in the chase.
Delhi batting first got off to a bad start with the big guns Jayawardena and Pietersen both failing to score much. Sehwag however continued from where he had left off in the last match and dispatched the bowlers to all the parts of the ground. It was a pitch where even Ross Taylor struggled to keep the strike rotating, but Viru looked like being on a different plane altogether. He stroked his fourth consecutive half century, the first player in IPL history to do so. But once he departed for 63 off 39 balls the innings lost its direction. The likes of Pankaj Singh, Cooper and Amit Singh did not give the batsmen anything to work with. But just when the Daredevils looked like ending with a sub-par total, the much backed Yogesh Nagar tonked 20 runs off the final over by Amit Singh to set a challenging target of 153 for the team from Rajasthan.
The most successful opening pair this year of Dravid and Rahane continued the way in which they have been. Mixing the elegant drives and flicks with a few hoicks, as they had the target well under control. An excellent catch by Agarkar at the long on boundary sent Dravid back, but with wickets in hand and Rahane and Hodge still at the crease, RR were hot favourites. That all changed when Morne Morkel came to bowl the devil’s over. With 15 needed in 12 balls, the South African kept bowling one yorker after another to concede just 3 runs and snare Hodge lbw off the last ball of the over. 12 runs of one over became 10 runs off three balls. Rahane kept his cool and glided a full ball from Umesh Yadav over the point boundary for a much needed six. A well run brace meant that RR needed 2 runs off the final delivery. Rahane missed connecting with the ball bowled outside the offstump, and the batsmen tried to sneak a single. The keeper Naman Ojha however did not miss with his throw onto the stumps, and caught Owais Shah short of the crease, winning them the match by 1 run! Ajinkya Rahane got his orange cap back from Sehwag with a score of 84no.
Dravid was at a loss of words to explain how they let the match get away, and rightly so.