Rajasthan coast to win over KXIP
Rajasthan Royals cruised to a six-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab at Jaipur on Sunday night after a brilliant display with the ball which restricted the visitors to a score of just 124.
Full Scorecard: Rajasthan v Punjab
Then Shane Watson, in only his second game for his franchise this season, returned to break the back of the chase with a dynamic display all round the wicket, hitting seven fours in a score of 32 off 19 balls.
Five of those fours came off Ryan Harris, who in his first two overs conceded 25 runs. Parvinder Awana was also expensive, giving up 19 in two overs, but at least he had the honour of dismissing Watson, who mistimed a pull from a short delivery on the offside to be taken by Mandeep Singh at mid-on.
But 44 runs had been put on the board in the first five overs.
Kings captain Adam Gilchrist put his trust in his pacemen in the early overs and was rewarded when Praveen Kumar struck twice in his final over, dismissing Rahul Dravid (9) and Stuart Binny (0), both to athletic catches by Gilchrist behind the stumps.
But Ajinkya Rahane provided the anchor as he and Brad Hodge (15) added 21 for the fourth wicket, until legspinner Piyush Chawla, introduced in the 13th over, bowled a straight one which trapped the Australian plumb in front as he played for the spin.
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Enter 18-year-old Sanju Samson, in his debut match. He played a composed innings of 27 off 23 to see out the chase.
It was a night to remember for the wicketkeeper: he took three good catches and engineered a run-out. Rahane ended with 34 off 42.
Earlier, the Kings XI Punjab, sent in to bat, self-destructed under sustained pressure from the Royals' bowlers.
Sreesanth made an immediate impact by dismissing Gilchrist and Mandeep Singh in four balls. Gilchrist’s poor run of form continued when he checked a shot and popped a relatively easy catch to Siddharth Trivedi at mid-on while Mandeep tried to cut hard but top-edged to Binny at third man.
Sreesanth was the bowler two overs later when James Faulkner claimed the wicket of Manan Vohra with a superb pick-up and throw from the covers as David Hussey called for a quick single. The Kings were reeling at 10 for three in 3.3 overs.
Hussey took it upon himself to make amends, taking 13 off West Indies paceman Kevon Cooper, but he was let down when Gurkeerat Singh also tried to exploit the third-man area and edged to Samson after a partnership of 35.
The keeper then brought off a spectacular diving catch to his right to snap up Rajagopal Sathish who hung out his bat and got a thick edge off Faulkner.
But the big blow came when Trivedi brilliantly changed his pace and Hussey chipped a shot to Rahul Dravid at mid-off. He had scored 41 off 31 deliveries with four fours and a six.
Thereafter, it was a case of hit and hope, and even a late flurry of 15 from seven balls (2x4, 1x6) from Praveen Kumar was not enough to make the total competitive.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS: AM Rahane, SR Watson, R Dravid (capt), STR Binny, BJ Hodge, SV Samson (wk), JP Faulkner, K Cooper, SK Trivedi, A Chandila, S Sreesanth
KINGS XI PUNJAB: AC Gilchrist (capt & wk), Mandeep Singh, DJ Hussey, Azhar Mahmood, M Vohra, R Sathish, Gurkeerat Singh, PP Chawla, RJ Harris, P Kumar, P Awana