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Sehwag’s smashing innings crush Rajasthan Royals

Ahmedabad: Virender Sehwag muscled his way to the fastest half-century in the Indian Premier League as Delhi Daredevils secured their second win on the trot by beating Rajasthan Royals by six wickets at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera on Monday.

The IPL party travelled to Ahmedabad for the first time, and the crowd lined up for their ‘home’ team Rajasthan to watch Yusuf Pathan repeat his pyrotechnics of Mumbai. Pathan was out for a duck as Rajasthan could only manage 141 before Sehwag unleashed his own version of crash, bang, wallop in his 34-ball 75 to run away with the game.

It left Rajasthan without a win in two games and the former champions must get their act together against Bangalore on Thursday.

Sehwag was at his brutal best as he launched into Dmitri Mascarenhas and Shaun Tait early. Mascarenhas managed to give Delhi a few jitters by taking the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Tillakaratne Dilshan off consecutive balls but Sehwag put it past the Royals in no time.

Sehwag reserved special treatment for Munaf Patel, hammering the bowler back for sixes before the same bowler accounted for his dismissal. But by the time Sehwag left he had done the damage.

Delhi took only 17.1 overs to reach their target and the victory puts them on the top of the league standings.

Earlier, Barring a brief priod of fireworks, Rajasthan Royals had largely themselves to blame as they were held to 141-6.

The Royals were off in a flurry, lost a wicket and resumed with lusty hitting. The story repeated itself twice over in a stop-start innings after Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss and inserted them in. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, the Bengal batsman stroked a maiden unbeaten IPL half-century, but was also guilty of running partner Paras Dogra out.

Delhi struck early through Dirk Nannes who got rid of Swapnil Asnodkar, but the arrival of Naman Ojha proved to be a blessing for the Royals. Ojha butchered four fours and a six but Amit Mishra’s introduction got the better of him for 24.

Last match’s centurion Yusuf Pathan was promoted but the tactic backfired for the Royals. The explosive batsman played out four dot balls before holing out in the deep, and Graeme’s Smith’s departure for 18 meant they had to rely on local talent yet again.

Not that they disappointed, as Jhunjhunwala played a cautious hand along with Paras Dogra. The latter had supported Yusuf Pathan admirably and he looked to repeat his performance, but for a mix-up which hastened his exit. Mascarenhas followed soon after, owing to his own anxiety for a second run.

Lusty blows towards the end of the innings got Rajasthan to 141 and Jhunjhunwala to his fifty, but their batting woes continued into the second game running.

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