Yusuf Pathan produced a masterclass of big hitting to lead the Rajasthan Royals to a five-wicket victory over the Delhi Daredevils.
The Indian slugger hit two fours and six sixes in his total of 62 off 30 balls, to secure a desperately needed win for Rajasthan. Spare a thought for Proteas captain Graeme Smith (44* from 46), who played a wonderfully controlled innings in support of Pathan. The pair shared an 83-run partnership off 47 balls to smash the fight out of the high-flying Delhi.
Delhi faced their first real challenge when Rajasthan, led by the suffocatingly accurate Munaf Patel, restricted them to 143/7.
AB de Villiers shone once more as wickets tumbled around him. The South African kept his composure to craft an uncharacteristically sedate 50 off 40 deliveries, and was assisted in his rebuilding mission by Daniel Vettori (29) and Mithun Manhas (23*).
Delhi ultimately posted a tame target on a wicket that wasn’t doing anything particularly special for the bowlers.
Rajasthan skipper Shane Warne called on his top order to make more telling contributions, but Swapnil Asnodkar, Rob Quiney and Paul Valthaty all failed to meet his expectations.
Smith and Ravindra Jedeja set about stabalising the innings and were making a reasonable fist of the chase until Jedeja holed out to deep mid-off and Warne was stumped in the same over, reducing the Royals to 64/5 with 80 to win off the final nine overs.
The responsibility laid with Smith and Pathan, who took a liking to Vetorri, smashing him to all corners of the ground.
With four overs remaining Rajasthan were favourites, needing 35. Smith struck a boundary and was nearly run-out off a free hit, before Pathan was dropped. He struck a massive six off the very next delivery to compound Delhi’s misery. The momentum had swung back in Rajasthan’s favour and Pathan duly ended the contest with two hooked sixes.
Delhi 143/7 - AB de Villiers 50, Daniel Vettori 29, Munaf Patel 2-14, Shane Warne 2-32.
Rajasthan 147/5 - Yusuf Pathan 61*, Graeme Smith 44*, Amit Mishra 3-34.
Rajasthan won by five wickets.
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