Negi, Sehwag outgun Rajasthan to increase lead

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Pawan Negi was at the forefront of the Rajasthan Royals' dramatic batting collapse before Virender Sehwag hammered his fifth consecutive half-century of the 2012 Indian Premier League to power the Delhi Daredevils to a six-wicket win on Tuesday.

Pawan Negi was at the forefront of the Rajasthan Royals' dramatic batting collapse before Virender Sehwag hammered his fifth consecutive half-century of the 2012 Indian Premier League to power the Delhi Daredevils to a six-wicket win.

Rajasthan's choice to bat first after winning the toss was running smoothly thanks to Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane. The captain and his sidekick put on 71 for the first wicket, laying a sound foundation for the rest of the home order.

Shane Watson, playing in his first game of the tournament, Owais Shah, Brad Hodge and Ashok Maneria failed to oblige. Numbers three through six managed a mere 12 runs between them.

Negi was the chief destroyer during a capitulation that brought five wickets for the addition of just 24 runs. The spinner, picked ahead of seamer Ajit Agarkar, grabbed his opportunity with both hands in securing match figures of four for 18 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

Dravid, true to character, ignored the rot around him to top-score with 67, seven boundaries included. A late-order cameo of 18 not out from wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami afforded his skipper some brief, belated support as the Royals moved to 141 for six.

Delhi's reply endured a testing start, with Mahela Jayawardene dismissed for a duck.

Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen, however, shrugged off the early loss of the Sri Lankan star to orchestrate a 96-run alliance inside 10 overs. The duo complemented each other superbly, striking 15 fours and two sixes between them.

Pietersen, playing in his last game of the 2012 IPL, eventually fell for 36. The England batsman's departure left Sehwag to take Ross Taylor and Yogesh Nagar under his wing across a couple of handy stands.

Sehwag, leg-spinner Brad Hogg's second scalp of the match, was eventually out for 73 from a mere 38 deliveries. Naman Ojha's 11 not out from just three deliveries later sealed the deal with all of 28 balls to spare.

Tuesday's result saw the Daredevils increase their lead at the top of the nine-team standings to 16 points. Rajasthan, meanwhile, remained rooted to sixth spot on eight points.

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