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Rajasthan trounce Delhi to enter final

Shane Watson did the star turn as Rajasthan Royals stormed into the final of the Indian Premier League, beating Delhi Daredevils by 105 runs in the first semi-final at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Friday night.

The Australia all-rounder first hit a breezy 52 as the Royals put up a challenging 192 for 9 in their allotted 20 overs and then destroyed the Delhi top order.

In a triple strike he had the top three Delhi batsmen — Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan — dismissed cheaply.

Reduced to 24 for 3, Delhi never recovered and lost wickets at regular intervals. Watson finished with figures of 3 for 10 in three overs as Delhi Daredevils were dismissed for a paltry 87 in 16.2 overs.

Munaf Patel, who was omitted from the ODI squads for Bangladesh and Pakistan tours, claimed 3 for 16 and Shane Warne 2 for 21 to hasten Rajasthan’s passage to the final.

Rajasthan Royals take on the winners of Saturday’s second semi-final between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.

Delhi began their run-chase on a poor note as Sehwag (3) pulled a ball wide of the stumps from Watson and was caught by Sohail Tanvir at deep mid-wicket in the second over.

Gambhir (11) and left-handed Dhawan (5), who both showed good form earlier in the tournament, perished in quick succession after enabling Delhi make a partial recovery.

Gambhir slashed Watson off backfoot and was caught at cover point while Dhawan pulled the Aussie straight to short mid-wicket to leave Delhi gasping at 24 for three.

Watson’s first three-over spell read a superb three for 10 and if Delhi had hopes of staging a fight-back they were thwarted by the dismissal of Manoj Tiwary (0), four runs later, off Munaf Patel.

It was a regular procession of batsmen thereafter.

Tillakratne Dilshan top-scored with 33 in 22 balls — inclusive of a six and five fours — before being seventh out at 76 in the 13th over.

Earlier, Yusuf Pathan celebrated his Team India inclusion with a whirlwind 45. The hard-hitting Pathan, named in the Indian 15 for next month’s tri-series in Bangladesh and Asia Cup in Pakistan earlier in the day, creamed the hapless Delhi attack, which included Glenn McGrath, hitting four sixes and three fours in his 21-ball knock.

The 25-year-old Baroda all-rounder took over the attacking reins from all-rounder Watson, who stroked his way to a fine half century in 29 balls, including four sixes and three fours, after openers Graeme Smith (25 in 21 balls) and Swapnil Asnodkar (39 in 21 balls) launched the innings on a sound note.

Watson and Pathan’s efforts helped Rajasthan Royals add 109 runs in the last 10 overs after Smith and the pint-sized Asnodkar put on 65 runs in 40 balls at the start.

Watson was involved in a breezy 52 runs partnership off 29 balls with Mohd Kaif (12) after Rajasthan Royals suddenly slipped to 76 for 3 from 65 without loss.

The innings started slowly as Smith was hampered by a pulled muscle while going for a run. But Asnodkar, who often took the aerial route and hit a six and six fours, boosted the run-rate.

The right-hander, after edging McGrath for his first four in the third over, struck Mohd Asif for three fours in the fourth over — a slash, a lofted off drive and a hook � to give the innings the much-needed push.

Smith then took over and slammed McGrath for three consecutive fours as the score raced to 43 for no loss in five overs.

Asnodkar had a lucky escape off the first ball of V Yo Mahesh’s spell when Farveez Maharoof dropped a sitter at long leg. He celebrated the escape by swinging the same bowler to the same area for a six to raise the 50 of the innings in only 33 balls.

Maharoof made amends by sending back both the Rajasthan openers with the last three balls of his first over.

Smith was caught flicking at deep square leg by a diving Shikhar Dhawan and then Asnodkar was dismissed at the same score of 65, caught at backward point off the Sri Lankan.

Maharoof also accounted for Sohail Tanvir, promoted up the order by his skipper, Shane Warne, as a pinch-hitter, when he miscued a swing to leg and the ball ballooned behind to stumper Dinesh Karthik.

From 65 for no loss, Rajasthan were reduced to 76 for three in the space of 14 balls. But the arrival of Watson brought about another run-spree as the Aussie slammed Yo Mahesh for a four and two sixes in his third over after change of ends to raise the 100 in 65 balls after the first ten overs had yielded 83 runs.

Watson then lofted leg spinner Amit Mishra for a six over long on to keep the scoring on a healthy note by adding 52 runs in 29 balls for the fourth wicket with Kaif to take the total past 125.

Kaif looked out of touch and was clean bowled when he tried a leg side heave off Mishra and missed the ball completely.

Pathan commenced his innings in whirlwind fashion by hoisting Mishra for successive sixes. Later he hit McGrath for a flat six over long on before being run out while going for the second run.

The track did not offer the pace bowlers the same sort of bounce and pace that was evident in previous matches held at the same stadium. Asif was carted around for 21 runs in his first two overs while McGrath gave away 22 in his first three.

Yo Mahesh proved very expensive and gave away 50 runs for two late wickets in his four overs.

Maharoof took three for 34 to emerge as the most successful bowler while Mishra claimed 2 for 37.

Categories: IPL News, Twenty20
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