| A crestfallen Ajinkya Rahane after Rajasthan Royals’ one-run loss to the Delhi DareDevils, at the Kotla, on Sunday |
New Delhi: Ajinkya Rahane’s superb 84-run knock went in vain as Delhi DareDevils pulled off a dramatic one-run win against Rajasthan Royals to open up a three-point lead at the top of the IPL, here at the Kotla, on Sunday.
Chasing a challenging 153 to win, Rajasthan were so close to win as they needed just 15 runs off the last two overs but Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav snatched the win for the DareDevils by conceding just 13 runs.
Morkel conceded just three runs in the penultimate over and also dismissed Brad Hodge (22) to turn the tide in the favour of the hosts.
Rajasthan needed two runs off the final ball after Rahane smashed Yadav for a six and took two in the fourth and fifth balls. However Rahane missed the last ball and Owais Shah was run out while attempting a single. The unpredictability of the Twenty20 format was at its best as the Royals were running away with an upset win after the openers — Rahane and captain Rahul Dravid (40) — raised a 99-run stand for the first wicket.
DareDevils had put up a challenging 152 for six after Virender Sehwag smashed a 63 off 39 balls and Yogesh Nagar (27 off 20) provided the fireworks in the end.
With this knock Sehwag became the only batsman in the history of IPL to score four consecutive half-centuries.
The Royals’ bowling was tight and except the last over when they conceded 20 runs, they made the formidable DareDevils batting to work hard for runs.
It was a difficult wicket for stroke-making but Rahane and Dravid read the track well and responded to the challenge sensibly. They kept finding boundaries but never attempted risky shots.
DareDevils are now leading the points table with 14 points, followed by Kolkata Knight Riders (11), Chennai Super Kings (9) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (9).
Earlier, Pankaj Singh (2/25) and Amit Singh (2/41) shared four wickets between them while Kevon Cooper did a fantastic job by conceding just 19 runs in his four overs.
Sehwag was his usual attacking self but his teammates struggled on a pitch, which was on the slower side.
Apart from Sehwag, Yogesh Nagar (27) and Ross Taylor (25) contributed to the total. It was Nagar, who took Delhi past the 150-run mark when he hammered Amit Singh for two sixes and a four in the final over before holing out in the penultimate ball. Royals bowlers kept Delhi batsmen under pressure right from the start although Mahela Jayawardene had started off the Delhi innings with a four off Ankeet Chavan.