Jaipur, May 7 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals strengthened their play-off chances with a dominating nine-wicket win over season's favourite whipping boys Delhi Daredevils by nine wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here Tuesday.
Skipper Rahul Dravid (53) and Ajinkya Rahane (63 not out) gave the hosts a great start with a 108-run stand to allow Rajasthan Royals achieve the target of 155 with ease -- losing a single wicket and with 13 balls to spare.
It was another pathetic performance by the Daredevils, who suffered a batting order collapse at 78/4 and it was a valiant 40-ball 64 by Ben Rohrer that helped them get a respectable 154 for four in 20 overs
With their seventh consecutive home win, Rajasthan maintained their unbeaten record at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. They moved to the second spot with 16 points from 12 matches while Daredevils remained at the eight place with their ninth loss this season.
Unlike Daredevils, who suffered a disastrous start, Rajasthan Royals got off to a steady start as Dravid and Rahane went on scoring runs in a clinical fashion. They were never in a hurry and played some good cricketing shots and the runs flowed freely.
Dravid got to his fifty in the 13th over with an edge that also brought up the 100-run stand for the first wicket. Dravid hit seven fours in his 48-ball innings and with the team needing another 47 runs to win, the skipper departed.
Rahane, who struck five fours and a six in his 45-ball innings, and Shane Watson (28 not out) carried the team home safely with their unfinished 47-run stand in just 17 balls.
Daredevils bowlers were erratic and bowled too many loose deliveries. Morne Morek went for 40 runs from his four overs while Ajit Agarkar gave 22 for his two. Rohrer failed to translate his success with the bat into his bowling as he conceeded 12 runs from the only over he bowled.
The only one to get some respect was young pacer Siddharth Kaul, who opened with a sensational first over maiden and also picked up the only wicket of Dravid, whose pull was well taken by Ajit Agarkar at long-on.
Opting to bat first, Daredevils lost Virender Sehwag (11) early in the second over only to trigger a batting collapse and they were soon left at 3/47. Skipper Mahela Jaywardene (34) was the only notable scorer amidst the top-order collapsed again.
Sehwag got a good start hitting James Faulkner for two crisply timed fours but paid a heavy price for his casual approach in the next ball. It was a slower delivery from Faulkner and Sehwag failed to pick it up and his middle stump was uprooted.
Wicketkeeper Muralidharen Gautam, playing his first match of the season, faced three balls for two runs and was the next to go after he edged Shane Watson to wicketkeeper Sanju Samson and it left Daredevils at 22 for two.
David Warner (13) failed to convert the good start and was foxed by some slow extra bounce from Stuart Binny and gave an easy catch to Sachin Baby at short cover.
Rohrer survived a leg before appeal in the first ball he faced from Binny. Rohrer and Jaywardene started the repair act but still runs were hard to come by. Daredevils reached 55 for three in 10 overs.
The runs finally started flowing in with the introduction of 42-year-old leggie Pravin Tambe in the 11th over. Jayawardene swept the first delivery for four and Rohrer stuck the bowler for two consecutive fours as 15 runs came off the 11th over.
Daredevils scored 99 runs in the last 10 overs to get a respectable total on board. Roher struck nine fours and a six during his 40-ball stay while Kedar Jadhav remained unbeaten on 23.
Hoping for some luck, Daredevils made six changes in the side by dropping Jeevan Mendis, Johan Botha, Shahbaz Nadeem, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra and Unmukt Chand. They brought in Morkel, Rohrer, Agarkar, Kaul, Pawan Negi and Gautam.
Royals made two changes bringing in Shaun Tait and the 42-year-old legspinner Tambe for Kevon Cooper and Ajit Chandila.