Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Daredevils, 1st semi-final, IPL

Watson! Watson!

Cricinfo staff

May 30, 2008

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Glenn McGrath was hit for three consecutive boundaries by Graeme Smith (file photo) © AFP
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Crowd favourite: Half an hour before the first semi-final, the Wankhede was only about half full. An hour into the game the crowd, now packed to the rafters, was screaming "Watson, Watson" as he smashed Delhi's bowlers to all parts of the ground. Mumbai has been known to cheer only their own but two neutral teams contesting the semi-final meant that the fans could cheer for the excellent cricket, irrespective of who was playing it.

VIP treatment: The union railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav arrived for the match surrounded by a throng of commandos who wanted to sit next to him to guard him. However, the MCA officials, owners of the VVIP box that sits atop the Garware Pavilion, objected and tempers had to be calmed by Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI chief operating officer. Lalit Modi was obviously irritated and was seen shaking his head.

Walking wounded: Graeme Smith was struggling with his leg and his footwork was severely restricted. Glenn McGrath tried to capitalise on the weakness but Smith countered by using his bottom hand to lift two consecutive deliveries for four to deep midwicket. McGrath then replied with a yorker which swung into Smith. Forgetting his injury for a moment, Smith punched hard at the ball, sending it racing to the long-off boundary before hobbling away to the side in pain.

Catch it right: The pull from Swapnil Asnodkar came in flat, fast, and above chest height towards Farveez Maharoof at deep fine leg. The thumb rule for catching at that height is to take it with hands cupped in front of the chest - the conventional way. Maharoof tried to catch it Aussie style - with fingers pointing upwards - and spilled it. The ball bounced off his hands, hit his face and went over the boundary for four.

Gambhir plays into Watson's hands: With the asking-rate climbing steadily, Gautam Gambhir, Delhi's best batsman, decided to force matters but failed repeatedly. He charged out of his crease to pull but was beaten by Watson's quick bouncer. He then tried to slash through covers but was beaten yet again. A second attempt at pulling also failed and when Gambhir finally connected with a fierce cut, he saw Taruwar Kohli dive to his right to pull off a stunning catch at cover.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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