|< Prev||Next >|
The Rajasthan Royals produced a near perfect performance to thump the visiting Pune Warriors by 45 runs in Game 60 of the Indian Premier League in Jaipur on Sunday. Half-centuries from Shane Watson (58) and Ajinkya Rahane (61) helped Rajasthan post a commanding 170/4 in their 20 overs. Pune's response was rocked early on by a hat-trick from rookie spinner Ajit Chandila, the first of this season. The Warriors never really recovered and capitulated to 125/9 in their 20 overs with man of the match Chandila eventually ending with four wickets. The win keeps Rajasthan's slender hopes of making it to the knock-out rounds alive, while condemning the Pune Warriors to their eighth successive defeat.
Needing three wins from their last three games to stay in contention for a play-off spot, the Rajasthan Royals could not have hoped for better guests than the Pune Warriors, who had lost 7 in a row coming into Sunday afternoon's fixture. The big news out in the middle was that Sourav Ganguly had returned to the side after having 'rested' in the last fixture. The spin of the coin though went his old friend's way with Rahul Dravid winning the toss and opting to make first use of what looked like a belter of a pitch.
There were a few changes for both sides with the Rajasthan Royals forced to recall Sreevats Goswami back into the side due to a finger injury to wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik while spinner Ajit Chandila came in for Pankaj Singh. Pune meanwhile chopped and changed radically once again with Australian skipper Michael Clarke relegated to the bench after an indifferent start to his IPL career with Jesse Ryder returning to the top of the order, while Callum Ferguson came in for Alfonso Thomas in a slightly more surprising move. That meant a recall for former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra to balance the side.
The powerplay was even-stevens with Rajasthan posting a creditable 45 runs for the loss of Rahul Dravid for 21. There was some exceptional strokeplay and a hint of swing on offer for the medium pacers early on. Dravid got the innings going with a gorgeous cut through the covers and accentuated the oodles of class he still possesses with a fantastic stroke through square leg off Nehra. A late cut beween backward point and short third man off leg spinner Rahul Sharma was also expertly played before some smart bowling by Nehra brought about his downfall, with the veteran left-arm seamer running his fingers over the ball to commit Dravid a tad too early and that little bit of away movement induced an edge which was well taken by Robin Uthappa. Ajinkya Rahane played a couple of gorgeous shots too, including one over extra cover which would take some beating. Shane Watson meanwhile was in the mood to butcher as he dispatched a slightly short of length delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar over the midwicket fence.
Pune were able to sneak in a few quiet overs after the powerplay but Watson cut loose in the 10th over, smashing Murali Kartik for a couple of sixes to power Rajasthan to 77/1 at the half-way stage of their innings. Ganguly tried to buy a wicket by tossing the ball to the rarely used Jesse Ryder for the 13th over, but Watson was in no mood to give it away, getting to his half-century off just 26-balls with a massive six over midwicket.
Ashish Nehra proved to be the go to guy for the Warriors as he rattled the Australian's stumps to end the crucial 94 run partnership, albeit with some help from Watson's inside edge. Shane fell for 58, leaving the Royals well placed at 126/2 at the end of 15 overs.
While the new batsman Brad Hodge took some time to play himself in, Ajinkya Rahane took charge out in the middle, accumulating runs in his own inimitable style, playing some cultured cricket shots as Rajasthan moved closer to a potentially matchwinning score.
Nehra once again gave his side a chance to pull things back by removing Brad Hodge for 14 in an excellent penultimate over that conceded just 5. Angelo Mathews yorked Rahane in the final over to end his classical effort for 61, but Johan Botha helped Rajasthan post a competitive 170/4 in their 20 overs.
The match swung decisively Rajasthan's way in the first over of the Pune chase as Ajit Chandila rewarded the Royals management for picking him by removing Jesse Ryder (1) and Sourav Ganguly (2) off consecutive deliveries. Ryder tried to smash the rookie spinner out of the ground, but failed to clear Watson at mid-on, while Ganguly was out stumped, accidentally wandering out of his crease. There was mayhem in Jaipur moments later as the unheralded spinner had taken an amazing hat-trick with Robin Uthappa also getting stumped by the lighning quick Goswami behind the stumps. The day was to get even better for Chandila, as he caught Anustup Majumdar off his own bowling to end with incredible figures of 4-13 from his 4 overs.
At 33/4 at the end of the powerplay the game looked as good as over for Pune, but the all-Aussie pairing of Steve Smith and Callum Ferguson gave the visiting fans something to cheer about putting on 34 runs for the 5th wicket before the latter fell leg before to Johan Botha for 23.
In Smith and Mathews, Pune still had plenty of ability in their batting unit, but with the required rate climbing with every passing delivery, the former perished for 37, caught in the deep by Hodge off Botha.
82 runs from 35 balls with 4 wickets in hand was always going to be unlikely, and the Aussies in the Rajasthan line-up did the needful by knocking over the lower order batsmen as Pune crawled to 125/9 in their 20 overs. It was a convincing 45 run win for the hosts, and kept their narrow hopes of making it to the play-off rounds alive.
The Rajasthan Royals have a few days off before they head over to Hyderabad to take on another struggling side in the Deccan Chargers on Friday. The Pune Warriors meanwhile have just one game left in their season, and they will use it to entertain their skipper's old side, the Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.
Pune Warriors: J Ryder, S Ganguly (c), R Uthappa (wk), C Ferguson, S Smith, A Majumdar, A Mathews, R Sharma, M Kartik, B Kumar, A Nehra.
Rajasthan Royals: R Dravid (c), A Rahane, S Watson, S Goswami (wk), A Menaria, B Hodge, S Binny, J Botha, A Chandila, S Tait, S Trivedi.
Rajasthan Royals 170/4 (20 overs, 8.5rpo)
A Rahane 61 (47) A Nehra 3-23
S Watson 58 (31) A Mathews 1-29
Pune Warriors 125/9 (20 overs, 6.5rpo)
S Smith 37 (31) A Chandila 4-13
A Mathews 23 (19) J Botha 2-25
Rajasthan win by 45 runs
- 14/05/2012 19:17 - IPL Match 63: Bravo hits 6 on the last ball to win it for Chennai
- 14/05/2012 14:52 - IPL Match 62: Rayudu, Pollard steer Mumbai to incredible win in Bangalore
- 13/05/2012 19:36 - IPL Match 61: Kings XI pull off a stunning win to keep their play-off hopes alive