An excellent over from South Africa international Morne Morkel left Rajasthan Royals dramatically short of victory as Delhi Daredevils registered a one-run win in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Chasing a par total of 153, Rajasthan were right on track and needed 15 in the final two overs with nine wickets in hand. However, Morkel, who finished with one for 26 off his four overs, gave away just three in the penultimate over and grabbed the wicket of Brad Hodge.
With 12 required off the final over, bowled by Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane could just watch as his team fell tantalisingly short of victory despite a fourth-ball six hit by the opener.
Rahane, who remained unbeaten on 84 off just 63 balls, added 99 with Rahul Dravid and 42 with Hodge but Morkel’s final over tilted things in Delhi’s favour who extended their lead at the top of the IPL table with seven wins and two losses in nine matches.
Earlier, Virender Sehwag was the only batsman to defy the Rajasthan bowling attack, hitting a whirlwind 39-ball 63. He was named man of the match and then credited his bowlers for
“The bowlers did well,” said Sehwag. “Morkel was really good and I asked him to bowl with freedom. I also thought we were losing but superb bowling from him and Yadav.
“I’m loving this format, trying to bat through the first half of the innings and then take it on.”
Meanwhile, Dravid admitted that the acceleration towards the target was delayed. “I think we had them on the mat but left it too late,” said Dravid. “This will hurt for sure. But I’m proud of my team.
“There aren’t too many big players but they are fighting hard.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.