Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is a popular phrase used in the sports world where comebacks from virtually impossible and lowest positions at the very last minute can turn defeat into victory. And if ever there was a match that garnered that phrase, then it surely must be today’s Delhi Daredevils versus Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Delhi Daredevils having won the toss elected to bat first, only to lose 2 crucial wickets within three overs. Sehwag and Taylor started the rebuilding process and added 80 runs for the fourth wicket. Sehwag scored a brilliant 63 of just 39 balls and Delhi finished on a decent 152. Rajasthan in reply did everything right, approaching the target in a clinical fashion. Rahane and Dravid put on 99 runs for the first wicket and always looked like the favorites to win. However things ended slightly different and Delhi managed to snatch victory off the very last ball, winning by a run. Young Rahane scored an unbeaten 84 off 63 deliveries in a losing cause.
The Turning Point
The turning point of the match was the penultimate over bowled by Morne Mokel. With Rajasthan needing 16 runs of 12 balls, the match was almost in their bag, but Morkel’s over changed that equation as he conceded just 3 runs of his over and managed to trap Hodge plumb in front of his last ball. Had it not been for this over, surely Rajasthan would have reached the modest total with considerable ease.
Where did Rajasthan go wrong?
Rajasthan played perfectly and had the game in control from almost 38 overs of the match. The managed to lose the plot in the final two overs despite having a well set in batsman in Rahane still batting. What did go wrong for them? It must be the relative inexperience at the end. The finishing never happened and the Rajasthan batsmen never pressed the trigger, saying “All right, we’re finishing this match now.” That small delay probably cost them the match. Rahane must be gutted that he couldn’t see his team home, and this will be a very bitter lesson for the young man.
Where do the teams stand now?
Delhi Daredevils sit pretty at the top of the points table and look like they have all but booked a place in the playoffs. They have been the team to beat in the tournament and their incredible winning form continues. Rajasthan now have two back to back loses and are caught in the middle of the table with just 8 points. If they are to entertain any thoughts of reaching the playoffs then surely they need to turn this around and turn it around quickly.
The ‘Wonder what would have happened moment?’
Close matches always make us look back at the important events in the match and wonder what a small difference in them could have made, especially considering that the margin of victory was just a single run. In the 19th over bowled by Morkel, the fifth ball went down the leg side missing Bard Hodge and was surely a wide. However, the umpire ruled it as a legal delivery. Wonder what would have happened had that decision been different.
This game is surely one of the best in this season of the IPL and definitely gets five stars out of five. Sehwag and Rahane’s innings were worth watching and the thrilling finish just made it all the while better.
Surely Rajasthan would be tying to forget this match, but not before learning from the mistakes they made. Delhi would be thrilled by this win. It must be seen though how they go from here with the departure of Pietersen for international duties.