Morkel inspires incredible Delhi win
Delhi Daredevils 152 for 6 (Sehwag 63, Pankaj 2-25) beat Rajasthan Royals 151 for 3 (Rahane 84*, Morkel 1-26) by one run
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Morne Morkel bowled a sensational penultimate over to turn a straightforward chase from Rajasthan Royals on its head and snatch victory for Delhi Daredevils. The victory creates daylight between Daredevils and the rest of the chasing pack, as they remain at the top of the points table.
Royals required 15 runs off the last two overs, with nine wickets in hand and victory seemed a foregone conclusion. But, Morkel gave away only three runs in an over filled with yorkers and claimed the wicket of Brad Hodge to set up a tense final over. The fourth ball was fired down the leg side but the umpire, to Hodge's surprise, didn't call a wide. It was a crucial decision as only one run separated the teams in the end.
Umesh Yadav was tasked with defending 12 runs for Daredevils against the in-form Ajinkya Rahane. Yadav started off with a fast full toss that Rahane missed. Desperation took over as Rahane looked to smash the next delivery, no matter what its length, and ended up mistiming his slices and breaking his bat. Owais Shah stole a single off the inside edge before Rahane hit the first six of the Royals innings, off a full toss to take back the advantage.
Two more runs came off the penultimate ball, which left two to get off the final one. Yadav kept it full, Rahane missed but ran anyway and Shah was not quick enough. Naman Ojha hit the stumps to run Shah out and deny Rahane victory, leaving him unbeaten on 84.
Rahane and Rahul Dravid are the most successful opening pair in this edition of the IPL and they showed why with a stand of 99 to set up the chase. Rahane started their reply in quietly confident fashion when Rahane flicked the first ball he faced - a poor one on legstump line from Irfan Pathan - for four.
Dravid rolled out his vintage drives and showed off powerful pulls as the Daredevils bowlers' lines and lengths presented no challenge. The two combined in a partnership that looked too easy, Dravid played with Sehwag-esque styled aggression while Rahane, once again, impressed with his timing and poise.
By the end of the eighth over, Royals needed less than 100 runs to win and Rahane and Dravid had racked up the same number of runs, 27 each. Rahane eclipsed his captain, reclaimed the orange cap and brought up his 50 with a finesse-filled flick to on the leg-side.
Daredevils thought they had some success when Dravid began walking after a cut that was thought to be caught behind but umpire Rod Tucker called him back. Tucker said he gave Dravid out when he saw him walking as it was the end of the over, but the misunderstanding gave Dravid a lifeline. He added only three more runs after that incident and was caught at long-on by a leaping Ajit Agarkar.
Rahane was unmoved by the dismissal and marched on, right to the brink of victory. He was only tripped up in the penultimate over and even then did not give up without a fight, as he scooped Yadav for six and very nearly gave Royals victory.
Daredevils may have thought their total was not enough after an underwhelming effort with the bat, save for Virender Sehwag's half-century and a last-over blitz from Nagar. Sehwag became the first player to score four consecutive half-centuries in the IPL and rebuilt Daredevils innings by himself after two early blows.
Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen were dismissed in the first three overs but Sehwag's full range of shots was on hand to resurrect matters. He pulled, reverse swept, drove and struck two stunning sixes over long-off and long-on. Just as he threatened to take the innings away from Royals, they dismissed him when Ashok Menaria took a well-judged catch off a back foot cut.
Ross Taylor had been an almost absent partner in the stand with Sehwag and was bowled the over after Sehwag departed. Taylor looked to take a Pankaj delivery from outside off and flick on the leg-side but did not make contact and was bowled.
Brad Hogg's wrong un's and Cooper and Amit Singh's changes of pace ensured Ojha and Nagar could barely get away. Ojha managed a six before mistiming a shot to long-on but Nagar enjoyed a good last over, hitting two full tosses for six to push Daredevils past 150. In the end, it was just enough.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent