Hodge’s direct hit to get rid of a marauding Warner proves the turning point

As Delhi Daredevils neared Rajasthan Royals’ total of 165 at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Saturday, it seemed a moment of poor fielding had cost the latter the match.

In the fourth over, opener David Warner was dropped by Rahul Dravid when he was on three, and the Australian went on to hit a half-century to bring his side within 13 runs of the target with 15 deliveries left. Then came a moment of fielding brilliance from Brad Hodge which swung the contest in Royals’ favour, and eventually saw it walk away with a five-run win.

With Warner batting on 77 off 56 balls and looking set to see the Daredevils home, he took off for a single. But Hodge’s pick up and throw from extra cover zeroed in on the stumps and caught the opener short.

Superb final over

And then, with nine required off the final over, Kevon Cooper kept it tight under pressure to claim the plaudits and condemn DD to its second consecutive defeat of the tournament.

Though it was tough to escape the feeling that the host had lost the match more than RR had won it, the former had earlier posted a challenging score thanks to man-of-the-match Dravid’s 65.

The RR skipper looked a tad uneasy in the beginning, flailing his arms at the first two deliveries, after his side had lost Kusal Perera early. However, soon enough, he settled into his familiar rhythm of wristy glides and flicks, and was assisted by Ajinkya Rahane at the other end.

The opening nine overs yielded 65, but the dismissal of Rahane in the 12th by Shahbaz Nadeem brought Stuart Binny to the crease. The all-rounder proceeded to hit 40 off 20 balls, adding 55 runs with his skipper in 4.4 overs before falling to Umesh Yadav’s pace.

Dravid too was slightly ruffled by Yadav’s express speed, and his eventual dismissal came off a 145 kmph delivery.

The Daredevils pacer finished with figures of four for 24 as DD pulled things back in the last two overs, giving away only six runs while earning four wickets. The developments in the last 12 balls of RR’s innings gained greater significance when Warner began his assault on the opposition bowlers.

For a while, Warner had tried in vain to find his range. He looked in trouble managing only four runs off the first 12 deliveries he faced, considerably quietened by Sreesanth’s outswingers.

Then, the Australian’s perseverance paid off, and he presently hit the groove. The Warner of the first six overs was a man suffering from lack of confidence, perhaps in the wake of recent failures.

He later transformed into the destructive batsman he has proved himself to be in past editions of the IPL.

His following 73 runs came off 44 balls.

Scoreboard

Rajasthan Royals: Kusal Perera c Irfan b Yadav 14 (12b, 3x4), Ajinkya Rahane c & b Nadeem 28 (24b, 3x4), Rahul Dravid c Jayawardene b Yadav 65 (51b, 6x4, 2x6), Stuart Binny b Yadav 40 (20b, 2x4, 3x6), Brad Hodge c Warner b Yadav 5 (7b), Kevon Cooper c Yadav b Nehra 2 (2b), Ashok Menaria b Nehra 1 (2b), Sreesanth (not out) 0 (0b), Rahul Shukla (not out) 1 (2b); Extras (lb-3, w-6): 9; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 165.

Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Perera), 2-87 (Rahane), 3-142 (Binny), 4-161 (Dravid), 5-161 (Hodge), 6-164 (Cooper), 7-164 (Menaria).

Delhi Daredevils bowling: Irfan 4-0-31-0, Nehra 4-0-35-2, Yadav 4-0-24-4, Russell 3-0-31-0, Nadeem 4-0-22-1, Botha 1-0-19-0.

Delhi Daredevils: David Warner (run out) 77 (56b, 9x4, 1x6), Unmukt Chand b Sreesanth 23 (19b, 2x4, 1x6), Mahela Jayawardene c Rahane b Shukla 19 (16b, 1x4), Manprit Juneja c Hodge b Cooper 20 (18b, 1x4, 1x6), Andre Russell b Cooper 7 (6b), Johan Botha lbw b Cooper 2 (3b), Irfan Pathan (not out) 1 (1b), Naman Ojha (not out) 0 (1b); Extras (lb-5,w-6): 11; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 160.

Fall of wickets: 1-39 (Unmukt), 2-82 (Jayawardene), 3-149 (Juneja), 4-153 (Warner), 5-159 (Botha), 6-160 (Russell).

Rajasthan Royals bowling: Badree 4-0-34-0, Sreesanth 4-0-18-1, Trivedi 4-0-35-0, Cooper 4-0-30-3, Shukla 3-0-27-1, Binny 1-0-11-0.

Man-of-the-match: Rahul Dravid.

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