|Scorecard:||Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Daredevils|
|Player:||AB de Villiers, TM Dilshan, KD Karthik, A Mishra, A Nehra, J Botha|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009|
What was supposed to be a regal assault from the Rajasthan Royals, chasing Delhi Daredevils 150, ended in a pathetic whimper as the defending champions took one more miserable step towards elimination from the Indian Premier League, going down by 14 runs.
While the Royals technically are still in the tournament, they would a lot of things to go in their favour to make that a reality for them. At this moment, that doesnt seem to happening. As for Delhi, they are now at the doorstep of the semi-finals.
While Munaf Patel made it interesting towards the end of the tournament, it was always too much of an ask.
With every match and point becoming vital, especially for the mid-table teams, it is a must for the chasing sides to come out with something extraordinary.
But that never happened, as the Rajasthan openers once again failed to deliver, especially South African skipper Graeme Smith, who has simply not come to terms with the events at hand. The big minus was also the early departure of Rob Quiney. Once these two had gone, it was always uphill, and the slope just got steeper.
Johan Botha, sent up the order, and Ravindra Jadeja tried to get things going for a while, but they never could haul in the asking rate, always hovering around the nine runs an over figure, was never really brought down.
Both batsmen were aggressive in fits and starts but didnt really get the assault off the ground. Rajasthan has always been in some sort of denial about their batting strength, or the lack of it, and that was displayed once again. That was emphasised even more when Yusuf Pathan came and went.
In the last few matches, rival captains straightaway go to their fast bowlers as soon as Pathan comes in to bat, and that has worked well. Once again, Pathan fell short of what is expected of him. Possibly, this realisation has suddenly begun haunting him.
Once that happened, it was all more or less over. Patel came back to score some runs at the end, mostly to avenge the assault he had faced, which made him the highest-scoring No. 11 in any IPL game. But that was a small consolation.
Amit Mishra ended up with three wickets, including Shane Warnes, as the Delhi bowling won it at a canter. Ashish Nehra once again displayed his re-discovered frugality, going for just eight runs off three overs, while Dirk Nannes was again at his fiery best. Farveez Maharoof and Avishkar Salvi were also pretty useful.
The Royals began the first innings sharply. Munaf Patel struck early as Gautam Gambhir hit one straight back at him, and the bowler, not renowned for his fielding, stretch out a long hand to pick up a great return catch. Virender Sehwag there after went as early as he has in the tournament, missing out on the low bounce to give Patel his second wicket.
That, once again, brought together AB de Villiers and Tillekeratne Dilshan, and the two foreign r3ecruits, as they have done so many times in the tournament, pulled their side out of the woods again.
De Villiers is almost certainly one of the most proficient batsmen in the world now and his form has been sensational. He was once again at his patient best, as he and Dilshan got together another fine 102-runs stand.
However, while they putting the stand together, the rate of scoring wasnt always what Sehwag would have wanted, so once Dilshan departed, Delhi still needed some serious runs and in came Dinesh Karthik.
Karthik has off late decided to take up the roll of the pinch-hitter lower down the order, shedding his hesitation about going after the bowling, and it has worked wonders for him and the side. He and De Villiers blasted 46 runs off the last three overs, including 26 from one Patel over, to ensure that their side finished at an even 150, which psychologically was a great boost, given the kind of grip the slower bowlers found off the track.
Warne used his slow bowlers as well as always though their penetrative powers werent as good as previous games. They did manage to hold off the scoring rate for most of the game. However, that didnt really augur well for the Rajasthan bowlers either.