Rajasthan Royals surge to second win
Rajasthan Royals 152 for 4 (Botha 39*, Dravid 38) beat Delhi Daredevils 151 for 6 (Rao 60, Warner 54, Warne 2-17) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Rajasthan Royals executed a well-calibrated chase against an off-colour Delhi Daredevils attack to register their second win in two games and move atop the IPL leaderboard. The senior players soaked up the pressure - Rahul Dravid set up the chase and Johan Botha anchored it - while the youngsters, Ashok Menaria and Ajinkya Rahane, batted with freedom to keep the required-rate under control. Ross Taylor added the finishing touches with his trademark leg-side lashes.
While Rajasthan's batting flowed seamlessly, their bowling was a tale of two halves. Their fortunes were typified by Shaun Tait's four one-over spells. He got rid of Virender Sehwag and Aaron Finch - two parts of Delhi's powerful top-order trinity - in his first two overs. David Warner, the third part, survived Tait and saw off a sublime spell from Shane Warne before counter-punching along with Venugopal Rao. Tait was either too short or too full in his last couple of overs, and allowed Delhi to haul themselves from 43 for 4 after 10 overs, to 151. Their bowlers, however, let them down.
"I am used to facing all these fast bowlers." - Sehwag's emphatic declaration before the game set up his confrontation with Tait. The encounter was, however, was short. Sehwag cracked his first ball through point but Tait hit back immediately with sheer pace. Taking guard after Sehwag's sizzle and fizzle, Finch barely saw the three thunderbolts - one of them touching 157 kph - that burst through his defences. One over of high impact - one spell out of the way.
Botha and Siddharth Trivedi were not so menacing with the ball, and Tait returned for the fifth over. Finch promptly succumbed to another pacy bouncer, and Tait was off the attack again. Warne struck twice in his first over, nailing Unmukt Chand with a quick dipping legbreak, and Naman Ojha with a slower, looping delivery. Thereafter, Rajasthan let the pressure ease, allowing Warner and Rao to find an escape route. Rao checked in with a couple of controlled boundaries against spin before Warner preyed upon Trivedi's poor lines.
Warner plundered Tait's indiscretions in length for three boundaries in his third over. He reached his 50 by cutting Warne in front of square before handing over the baton to his partner. Rao launched two successive slower balls from Trivedi for sixes over the off side, before Irfan Pathan slugged boundaries off Tait's closing over to hustle Delhi to challenging total.
Dravid ignited the chase with a series of boundaries off Ashok Dinda, but Amit Paunikar missed a wild slog to gift him a wicket. Pathan had shown signs of regaining his famous inswinger in Delhi's first game. Today, however, he resorted to listless offcutters that Dravid pounced upon. With his seamers disappointing, Sehwag resorted to Roelof van der Merwe's spin in the sixth over, and Dravid greeted him with two elegant boundaries. Fifty-seven had come off the Powerplay, and the game was heading Rajasthan's way.
van der Merwe gave Delhi an opening by getting Dravid to edge behind, but Botha and Menaria carried on without a fuss. With a stance and swagger reminiscent of Yuvraj Singh, Menaria camped on the back foot and looked to muscle anything too short or too full over midwicket. He thumped sixes off three consecutive overs before carving Pathan straight to cover. Botha was relentless though, in his new No. 3 avatar, executing paddle sweeps at will and keeping things under control. Rahane kept the flag flying, and though Morne Morkel uprooted his stumps in the 16th over it was too little too late.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo