Red-hot Virender Sehwag was in a destructive mood as he smashed his fifth successive half-century of the Indian Premier League (IPL) — a new T20 record. Delhi Daredevils beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets yesterday.
The fact that the senior India player reached his half-century in just 19 balls showed that he wanted to finish things off early. Chasing 142, Delhi Daredevils romped home with 28 balls to spare against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur yesterday. The win helped Delhi consolidate their position further on top of the points table.
It was a huge blow for Delhi Daredevils when they lost Mahela Jayawardene on the third ball of the first over by spinner Ankeet Chavan. Thereafter, Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen (36), who will return to England after this match, took charge and put together 96 runs for the second wicket.
Undeterred by Pietersen’s wicket, Sehwag continued in the same vein, finding the gaps at will. Sehwag’s knock was studded with 12 fours and a six. Brad Hogg dismissed the Nawab of Najafgarh for 73 off 38 balls, but it was too late. Naman Ojha (11 not out) finished off things for the visitors with a six.
Earlier, Delhi’s young left-arm spinner Pawan Negi bowled a dream spell (four for 18) to rattle the Rajasthan top-order after a blitzkrieg by Orange Cap holder Ajinkya Rahane (42 off 32) and skipper Rahul Dravid (57 off 43). The duo added 71 in only 8.3 overs before Negi dismissed Rahane, Shane Watson (8), Brad Hodge (1) and Ashok Menaria (1) to get Daredevils back into the match.
Rahane started from where he had left off against Daredevils in the away match at the Feroze Shah Kotla. The Mumbai lad smashed Irfan Pathan for four boundaries in the third over of the innings.
Negi to the four
Delhi lad Negi got four wickets in three overs. First to go was Rahane, who needlessly played a reverse sweep only to offer a simple catch Sehwag at point. Shane Watson (8) was then cleaned up to give Negi his second wicket.
A double strike by Negi in his last over had Royals reeling at 95 for five. He induced Brad Hodge (1) to play a cut shot that landed straight into Sehwag’s safe hands. Talented Ashok Menaria (1) top-edged it to Kevin Pietersen at long-on.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals: 141 for six in 20 overs (Rahul Dravid 57, Ajinkya Rahane 42; Pawan Negi 4-18) lost to Delhi Daredevils: 144 for four in 15.2 overs (Virender Sehwag 73, Kevin Pietersen 36; Brad Hogg 2-32) by six wickets