Delhi hold nerve to score thrilling one-run victory

Delhi hold nerve to score thrilling one-run victory

Sehwag sparkles with quick fifty

Delhi hold nerve to score thrilling one-run victory

Delhi Daredevils, helped by a sensational penultimate over by Morne Morkel after skipper Virender Sehwag showed the way with the bat, snatched a jaw-dropping last-ball victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.

New Delhi : Delhi Daredevils' players celebrate after beating Rajasthan Royals during their IPL-5 match in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo by Aman Sharma

Daredevils gave the packed crowd at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium a few heart-stopping moments. The one-run defeat, though, would be nothing short of a heartbreak for the Royals who came tantalisingly close before running out of steam in the last two overs. After Daredevils stuttered to 152 for six, Rajasthan looked to be cruising on the strength of the 99-run opening-wicket partnership between captain Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane, who made an unbeaten 84. But they could manage only 151 for three in 20 overs.

But the early part of their chase told a different story. Even after Dravid’s departure in the 14th over, the goal was well within Rajasthan’s reach with Brad Hodge and Rahane set. It was Daredevils’ who looked hapless bystanders as Rajasthan needed 15 off 12 balls. But Morkel, who was having a forgettable time till then, turned the match on its head in his last over. The South African conceded only three runs and dismissed Hodge off the last ball, and it was the turn of Royals to feel the heat. They needed 12 off six balls and Sehwag picked Umesh Yadav to bowl the last over.

He conceded only three runs in the first three balls but Rahane whacked a low full toss over point for a six. With four needed off two balls, Rahane picked two runs to keep Rajasthan on track -- now two to win off the last ball.

The script could not have been more intriguing for the Kotla fans. Rahane failed to connect Yadav’s delivery, attempting a steer. He sprinted for a run but Owais Shah was run out by wicket-keeper Naman Ojha. Frenzied celebrations among the Daredevils players and the fans were understandable as the Royals camp stared in disbelief.
Rahane’s face betrayed the pain of a brilliant effort gone waste.

Earlier, electing to bat, Daredevils’s innings centered around Sehwag’s rapid 63 (39b, 8x4, 2x6) after both Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen, who will now return to England for the series against the West Indies, were back in the dugout with 19 runs on the board. The Daredevils skipper was unsparing in his bid to accelerate the scoring. It mattered little that the man at the other end, Ross Taylor, struggled to find his rhythm.
Taylor, sent up the order, however, hung on to add 80 for the third-wicket with Sehwag.

The Daredevils captain slammed Kevon Cooper over mid-off for a flat six and his successive hits to the fence off Pankaj Singh brought him his fourth consecutive half-century off 33 balls, decorated with seven fours and a six. Sehwag then went after experienced Brad Hogg, spoiling his bowling figures, lofting him for a six and a boundary in the 11th over. The Australian, however, had the last laugh. Sehwag tried an ambitious cut off a short ball but mistimed it and Ashok Maneria dived to take a fine catch.

Yogesh Nagar swung his bat to accelerate the scoring at the death. In the last over, he twice smacked Amit Singh for six before being caught at deep mid-wicket off the penultimate ball. A boundary from Irfan Pathan off the last ball meant Amit had conceded 20 runs in the last over and these runs, in hindsight, proved priceless for Daredevils.