Scrappy win for Rajasthan Royals


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Jaipur: Chasing down a 125-run target is usually an easy task for T20 team. But that wasn’t the script on Sunday for the Rajasthan Royals as they huffed and puffed to a 6-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab, with four balls to spare.

Needing five runs from the final six deliveries, Sanju Samson showed a lot of pluck, taking two off the first delivery, before bringing up the winning runs with a four. But it didn’t look difficult when they began the chase.

Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane took Rajasthan off to a good start, with the Aussie leaning forward and flicking the ball to the mid-wicket fence like nobody was watching. When he was offered room, he drove, down the ground, and to the covers. Past the boundary. First change Parvinder Awana was struck for two such fours, before he forced a pull shot out of Watson, that ended up in Mandeep Singh’s hands at mid on. It was time for the Royals skipper to walk in.

Rahul Dravid took a single, and used his wrists to hit two fours. Just when it looked like he would enter a double digit score, the 40-year old played away from his body, and edged a delivery from Praveen Kumar to Adam Gilchrist. Three balls later, Kumar repeated the routine with Stuart Binny. Royals 58/3.

The brakes had been applied.

Brad Hodge joined opener Ajinkya Rahane and the two exercised caution, focusing on the ones and twos.  The duo added 21 runs spread over five overs, when Piyush Chawla trapped Hodge leg-before-wicket.  Debutant Samson survived a dropped chance, and capitalized on the life, to help his team occupy the third spot on the points table.

Earlier, Kings XI Punjab got off to a poor start after being asked to bat by the Royals. Adam Gilchrist didn’t put his bat into the shot, lifting the ball in the air, only to find it in Siddharth Trivedi’s hands.  Three balls later, Mandeep Singh swung hard at wide delivery, which flew to Stuart Binny at third man.

Two wickets for Sreesanth.

Manan Vohra was wicket no.3, after being run out courtesy a direct hit from James Faulkner. David Hussey being David Hussey then got to work, by going after Chandila, stepping aside to lift the ball over long off for fence. The 35-year old made room, to cut, and glide the ball around for runs. But what the team needed was a big partnership, and that’s where the visitors struggled. While Hussey got busy, Gurkeerat Singh and R.Satish showed glimpses of a fight, but failed to hang around when it mattered the most.

Rajasthan then netted the big fish.

Siddharth Trivedi forced Mr.Cricket’s brother to drive the ball straight to Rahul Dravid at mid-off, who fumbled once, only to grab the ball on the second attempt.  It took some lusty hitting from Azhar Mahmood and then Praveen Kumar to take Kings XI to 124 all out.

The hosts didn’t know that it would go to the last over.

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