Javinder Singh | cricket20
Venugopal Rao recorded his first half century of this years tournament to help the Delhi DareDevils recovery from 36-4 to record a total 151-6 against the Rajasthan Royals.
The Indian smashed 4 fours and 4 sixes during a vital innings for the visitors after the DareDevils top order once again failed with the bat in dramatic fashion.
Venugopal Rao (60) was supported by David Warner (54) during a 5th wicket stand which helped the visitors recover to leave the Royals facing a run chase of 152.
Having suffered a batting collapse against the Mumbai Indians at the weekend the DareDevils suffered a similar fate against the Royals as the top order crumbled away with little resistant’s.
The innings got off to the worst possible start when Virender Sehwag was caught in the slips by Rahul Dravid from just the third delivery of the match after the opener had completely misjudged a short ball from Shaun Tait.
The DareDevils skipper had already smashed a boundary through cover point but he could only edge the next delivery from Tait through to his former Indian international teammate.
New batsman Aaron Finch smashed a boundary and a six during his short stay at the crease before Tait returned in the 5th over to remove the 24 year old Aussies who was caught by Johan Botha in the slips.
With the pressure mounting on the DareDevils, Royal skipper Shane Warne brought himself into the attack in the 8th over with dramatic effect.
Showing no signs of his advancing age the veteran Aussie bowled the perfect leg break with his first delivery which cramped Unmukt Chand in the crease and the batsman could only edge the ball through to Dravid in the slips.
Amazingly Naman Ojha (0) quickly followed Chand back to the dug out 2 deliveries later when he was caught by Tait at backward point to give Warne 2 wickets in the space of three deliveries to leave the DareDevils 36-4.
With the visitors on the brink of another disastrous innings David Warner and Venugopal Rao rescued the DareDevils was a vital 5th wicket partnership of 83.
Having survived a caught behind shout at the end of Warne’s first over Venugopal Rao started the recovering by dispatching Botha for a massive six over ling-on boundary in the 11th over.
He followed this up with a boundary in the next over before Warner targeted Tait in the 16th over smashing two boundaries and a six to take the DareDevils past 100 for the first time in this year’s tournament.
The Aussies completed a well deserved half century with a boundary off the bowling of Warne in the 18th over before he topped edge a delivery from Amit Singh into the hands of Abhishek Raut out on the boundary.
Despite losing his partner Venugopal Rao continued the onslaught smashing Siddharth Trivedi for consecutive sixes in the 19th over to record his own half century.
Although Trivedi struck back to remove the Indian at the end of the penultimate over the damage had already been done as the DareDevils reached 151-6 to give the Royals a tricky run chase.