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Ruthless Rajasthan Royals march into final

Published: Saturday, May 31, 2008, 3:35 [IST]

Mumbai: Rajasthan Royals' all-rounder Shane Watson smashed a blistering 29-ball 52 and returned to wreck the backbone of Daredevils in his fiery first spell that read 3-0-10-3 as Jaipur outfit routed the spineless Delhi unit with an emphatic 105-run victory to advance into final of the IPL at Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.

Chasing a massive 193-run target , the Daredevils slumped to 28/4, thanks to Watson's initial burst. Delhi side wilted under the pressure exerted by Watson and Munaf and were eventually bowled out for 87 inside 16.1 overs. Dilshan top-scored in a losing effort with 22-ball 33. Gambhir and Karthik were the only other batsmen to reach double figure mark.

Watson plucked the vital first three wickets. Munaf (3/17) and Warne (2/21) ran thro' the middle and lower order.

Scorecard

Earlier Watson and Yusuf made merry on Delhi change bolwers to ensure Royals post a mammoth total. Shane Watson made a blistering 29-ball 52 and Yusuf Pathan clobbered a rapidfire 45 as Rajasthan Royals raised a massive total.

Watson belted four boundaries and three sixes while Yusuf plundered three boundaries and four sixes in his 21-ball whirlwind innings. Openers Smith (25) and Asnodkar (39) laid a fine platform with a brisk 65-run stand.

Maharoof with 3/34 was the pick of Delhi bowlers. Leggie Mishra returned with 2/37. Yomahesh though plucked two wickets but conceded as many as 50 runs in his four overs.

Daredevils were never in hunt as Watson ran amok in his first spell that spelt doom. The Aussie all-rounder packed off the formidable trio of Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhawan cheaply as Delhi slumped to 24/3 in sixth over.

Delhi batsmen chasing a daunting target fell trying to give their side a brisk start. Sehwag pulled a short of length ball well outside the off-stump only to find Tanvir at fine-leg. Gambhir was holed to Taruwar Kohli (Sub) at point and Dhawan's ill-timed pull flew straight to Jadeja at short mid-wicket.

In came Tiwary and out he went after Asnodkar held on to a stunner off a mis-timed pull off Munaf to leave Delhi in doldrums at 28/4. Delhi eventually collapsed to 87.

Smith and Asnodkar gave their team a flying start forging a quickfire 65 runs in less than seven overs. The formidable pair saw off the first three uneventful overs before taking on the rusty Asif. The pocket dynamo Asnodkar set the pace hitting Asif for 14 runs in his second over including three bounadry hits. And taking cue from his partner Smith pulled and drove McGrath to fence for three consecutive boundaries.

Asnodkar continued from where he left clobbering Mahesh for two boundaries and six over long-leg. As they say great things come in small packages. This little dynamite from Goa is an asset for Royals. He makes the scoreboard ticking by takeing the calculated risks easing off the pressure on his partner Graeme Smith. And alongwith Smith has provided the much-needed early momuntems for his side.

The duo was unstoppable as Jaipur raced to 50 in just 5.3 overs.

Maharoof introduced in the seventh over provided Delhi a much-needed breakthrough when he had Smith caught by Dhawan at mid-wicket and the lanky Lankan, who extracted a steep bounce on flat and hard Wankhede wicket, ended the explosive innings of Asnodkar in the same innings. Goan batsman's full-blooded cut flew straight into the hands of Tiwary at point.

Sohail Tanvir, promoted up the order to get some brisk runs, played a out-of-book cover drive before top-edging the pull off Maharoof to gloveman Dinesh Karthik.

This brought Watson, the contender for IPL MVP award, brought to the middle. His arrival set the tone for Royals as his 29-ball knock - loaded with a flurry of fours and sixes - gave his side the momuntem that continued till his first spell settled the game for Royals. He enjoyed some fortune, however, dropped twice during his knock made Delhi pay heavily for the lapses. YoMahesh was the culprit on both the occassion.

Watson added an invaluable 52 runs with Mohd Kaif (12) before he was defeated by a flighted one off wily Mishra.

Watson passed on baton to Yusuf Pathan and the Baroda batting all-rounder did not disappoint the packed Wankhede with his pyrotechnics. He pulled, slog sweept and chipped Mishra for max over mid-wicket fence.

He is undobutedly one of a clean hitters of the cricket balls around. He is uninhabited and unpurterbed by the reputation of the bowlers. Yusuf amassed as many as 18 runs in the penultimate over of the innings bowled by the master of seam bowling McGrath. Yusuf fireworks ensured Royals to a healthy total.

Royals will take on the winners of the second semi-finals between Mohali and Chennai in the grand finale slated to be held at the D Y Pati Stadium on Sunday.

thatsCricket

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