May 30th, 2008: Rajasthan Royals scored an emphatic 105 run victory over the Delhi Daredevils to move into the Grand Final of the inaugural DLF Indian Premier League on Sunday at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai.The Royals were aided in their Semi Final win by a superb all around display with bat & ball by the League’s MVP Shane Watson who scored a quickfire 52 and then took 3 wickets at the top of the Delhi innings to knock the fight out of the Delhi Daredevils.
In the first innings, the Rajasthan Royals posted an imposing 192 in their allotted 20 overs, thanks to handsome contributions with the bat from Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan and Swapnil Asnodkar. Put in to bat by the Delhi Daredevils Captain Virender Sehwag on winning the toss the Rajasthan Royals were almost immediately affected, when after a near run out chance in the second over on opener Graeme Smith aggravated his hamstring and he needed to ask for a runner. That was the cue for the pint-sized Goan opener of the Royal’s Swapnil Asnodkar to take control over proceedings and take control he did with a quickfire 39. At 65 for no loss the Royals seemed to be sitting pretty, when things went terribly wrong. First, Smith then Asnodkar both departed with the score on 62 and then an experiment by skipper Shane Warne in promoting purple cap holder Sohail Tanvir up the order as pinch hitter failed as a triple strike by Sri Lankan & Delhi Daredevil Farveez Maharoof applied the brakes on the Royal’s innings.
Enter the league’s MVP Shane Watson and freshly selected Indian ODI debutante Yusuf Pathan who treated the crowd at the Wankhede to some truly delectable and electrifying strokeplay. As the terrific twosome hit their way out of trouble with some unconventional hits to the fence, one could see the tide changing for the Rajasthan Royals. Shane Watson hit a quickfire 52 of 29, while Yusuf Pathan celebrated his draft into the Indian ODI squad with a cameo of 45 lasting 21 balls. But failures with the bat for Rajasthan’s Captain Courageous Warne, Rawat their keeper and young upstart Ravindra Jadeja saw the Royals being curbed for 192 runs in their allotted 20 overs.
Enter Delhi’s dynamic duo of Captain Virender Sehwag and Gautam “Gauti” Gambhir, who had their task well cut out, as a place in the Grand Final on Sunday hung in balance. Unfortunately for the packed house at the Wankhede, Viru failed to fire holing out to Sohail Tanvir off the bowling of the leagues MVP Shane Watson for a paltry 3 runs. With the pressure now squarely on the shoulders of India & Delhi Daredevils opener Gautam Gambhir to provide some much needed impetus to the innings, it was game on. However, it seemed Shane Watson had other ideas as he motored on with the ball removing the dangerous Gauti for all of 11 runs as he was caught by substitute Taruwar Kohli on the field because of the injury to Smith.
A third strike by Watson to remove Shikhar Dhawan virtually blew the wind out of Delhi’s sails and they never were able to recover from the same. Sri Lankan Dilshan played a lone hand for the Delhi Daredevils scoring 33, but he seemed to stand alone amongst the ruins of Delhi’s batting as the team capitulated to some tight spin and seam bowling by Watson, Tanvir, Munaf and Warne. Munaf Patel then got into the act removing the dangerous Manoj Tiwary, Mishra and Yo Mahesh, while spin-king Warne chipped in with two wickets to have the Delhi Daredevils reeling precariously on the edge of defeat at 87 for 9 at the end of 16 overs. The Delhi Daredevils were finally put out of their misery by a run-out of an over throw on the first ball of the 17 over leaving them stranded on 87, handing the Rajasthan Royals a well deserved victory and a ticket into the Grand Final of the inaugural DLF Indian Premier League. The Rajasthan Royals now await the winner of the Second Semi Final to be held at the Wankhede tomorrow between the Yuvraj Singh’s Kings XI Punjab and Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.