Matthew Hayden, the Australian left-handed batsman, cut short his international career to play for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League - and what an exhibition he put on yesterday against the Delhi Daredevils. Hayden's breathtaking 93 off 43 deliveries ended when Tillakaratne Dilshan held on to a spectacular catch, inches off the ground diving forward, off the leg-spinner Amit Mishra. But by that time the 38-year-old Queenslander had taken his team close to victory, needing 43 off 39 deliveries.
Suresh Raina, the stand-in captain of the Kings, then compiled 34-ball 49 not out, hitting Dilshan for a six over the cover boundary to complete a five-wicket win with five deliveries to spare over. Hayden smashed nine fours and seven sixes, and was severe on Dilshan, hitting the spinner out of the ground three times in one over. He added 78 in 39 balls for a third-wicket stand with Raina. Virender Sehwag had earlier hit a trademark knock 78 off 38 deliveries to provide the Daredevils a solid foundation. Mithun Manhas (32 from 22 balls) and Rajat Bhatia (21 off nine) then played cameo knocks lower down the order to close their inning at 185 for six.
Sehwag struck 10 fours and three sixes, and shared a 67-run stand with Dilshan, who struggled at the other end before falling to his Sri Lanka teammate, Muthiah Muralitharan after scoring just 15 off 24 deliveries with one four. Sehwag had dominated an opening-wicket stand of 35 in 3.3 overs with David Warner (six). The Daredevil opener was third man out to a spectacular one-handed catch from Justin Kemp at the long-off fence, in the same Murali over in which Dilshan fell to a superb catch at short cover from Raina.
Going into tonight's game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Shane Warne and his Rajasthan Royals face an assortment of woes. The side he led to the inaugural IPL title in 2008 as one of the least fancied and least expensive teams at US$67million (Dh246m), have played three and lost three in the third campaign. "My son's under 12 side would be tough at the moment," Warne joked ahead of tonight's game in Ahmedabad.
Warne's men must start firing before it becomes too late to get their title hopes back on track. And that task is unlikely to become any easier as they come up against one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, Chris Gayle, who teams up with KKR for his first game in the IPL. The West Indies captain arrived in India on Thursday after leading his country to a 4-1 ODI demolition of Zimbabwe in the Caribbean. Gayle, who topped the scoring in that series with 273 runs, including three half-centuries, is set to replace Rohan Gavaskar in the Kolkata line-up. "Most of the sides are evenly balanced and I hope that we keep performing well from now on," said Warne. "At the end of the day we have to win some seven or eight games."
The undefeated Mumbai Indians are at home to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in tonight's second game. Sachin Tendulkar's side will not find it easy against a rejuvenated Royal Challengers, who bounced back from a defeat to Kolkata with victories over King's XI Punjab and Rajasthan. Rajasthan's Graeme Smith is set to lead South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 in April-May after being ruled out for the rest of the IPL with a fractured finger. firstname.lastname@example.org Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders (2.30pm start) and Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore (6.30pm start) on CricOne
Delhi Daredevils: David Warner c Hayden b Balaji 6 Virender Sehwag c Kemp b Muralitharan 74 Tillekaratne Dilshan c Raina b Muralitharan 15 Dinesh Karthik lbw Joginder Sharma 19 AB de Villiers c Raina b Ashwin 2 Mithun Manhas not out 32 Rajat Bhatia c Raina b Balaji 21 Amit Mishra not out 6 Extras (lb 4, w 5, nb 1) 10 Total (for six wickets in 20 overs) 185 Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-102, 3-103, 4-107, 5-146, 6-177 Bowling: Albie Morkel 3-0-26-0 RAshwin 4-0-40-1 Joginder Sharma 4-0-43-1 Lakshmipathy Balaji 3-0-21-2 Justin Kemp 1-0-14-0 Muttiah Muralitharan 4-0-25-2 Suresh Raina 1-0-12-0 Chennai Super Kings: Parthiv Patel run out (de Villiers) 6 Matthew Hayden c Dilshan b Mishra 93 Subramaniam Badrinath c Mishra b Yadav 14 Suresh Raina not out 49 Albie Morkel c Mishra b Dilshan 0 Justin Kemp b Nannes 4 Murali Vijay not out 14 Extras (lb 2, w8) 10 Total (for five wickets in 19.1 overs) 190 Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-64, 3-142, 4-154, 5-169 Bowling: Dirk Nannes 4-0-18-1 Umesh Yadav 4-0-38-1 Pradeep Sangwan 4-0-46-0 Rajat Bhatia 2-0-31-0 Tillekaratne Dilshan 2.1-0-30-1 Amit Mishra 3-0-25-1 Man of the match: Mathew Hayden