Royals place one foot in play-offs

Comprehensive win over Kings XI takes Rajasthan to 18 points.

Scorecard | Match pictures | Schedule | Sorry Sachin!

Rahane: Making a case for ODIs again?MOHALI: Rajasthan Royals placed one foot in the play-offs on Thursday evening, thanks to their ninth - and second consecutive away - win that brought them up to 18 points in the ongoing IPL skirmish.

Royals put up a commanding show with the bat and ball as they outplayed a curiously-subdued Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets, backing a solid fielding show with another power-packed display with the bat.

Rajasthan restricted the home team to 145 after a galloping start by Adam Gilchrist (42) and Shaun Marsh (77), and had no trouble in the chase as leading lights Ajinkya Rahane (59*), Shane Watson and Sanju Samson (47*) shone strong and bright.

Although skipper Rahul Dravid was out early, Rahane’s 49-ball knock, which contained a pistol-shot six cracked off Parvinder Awana, ascertained a steady progression of the pursuit. An unbroken 76-run stand between Rahane and Samson brought victory with an over to spare and for that, Royals should hand out equal credit to their bowlers.

Cooper excels

Kevon Cooper was instrumental in stalling what had until then appeared to be a runaway innings. Punjab had tided over the first-over loss of Mandeep Singh and were cruising on a 102-run union between Gilchrist and Shaun March when he dismissed the former with a slower ball.

Cooper took the pace off yet again to claim Marsh and the dangerous David Miller and conceded just 23 off his four as Punjab made a hash of a great start. It was a dark beginning for Gilchrist, who was left fuming when he was subjected to an under-hand run-out attempt in the third over.

Gilly fumes

Having made his name as the torch-bearer of sportsmanship during his days in international cricket, the Punjab opener was struck by a throw as he was running in to the striker’s end. Chandila coolly collected the ricochet and took the bails off, waiting expectantly in half appeal.

Gilchrist made his displeasure clearly visible, even as Dravid hurried in to make the peace and dismissed whatever noxious thoughts Chandila may have harboured. There was another reason, however, for which Gilchrist should have been far more furious.

After the skipper and Marsh brought up the team hundred in under-14 overs, Punjab added just 39 for the loss off five wickets at the business end, as Watson and Cooper put the brakes on the innings. More was expected of Punjab on their home ground, especially after what Miller had for them done in recent games.

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