Jaipur, May 13: Off-spinner Ajit Chandila took the first hat-trick of the Indian Premier League-V in Rajasthan Royal’s emphatic win over the listless Pune Warriors here Sunday, keeping them in the hunt for a place in the play-offs.
Fifties by openers Ajinkya Rahane (61) and Shane Watson (58) steered Royals to 170 for four in 20 overs and then Chandila’s four-wicket burst triggered the collapse in the Warriors’ innings which ended at 125 for nine. Watson was also handy with his medium-pace, taking two wickets for 19 runs.
The 45-run victory for the Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium kept them in the hunt for a top-four finish in the standings and they need to win their remaining two games to advance in the tournament. They are sixth in the table with 14 points from as many games.
Warriors, on the other hand, suffered their eighth loss in a row, equalling the record of most consecutive defeats in the IPL.
The day clearly belonged to the unlikely hero in Chandila, who was playing only his second game of the tournament.
Chandila (4-13) was able to fox the batsmen with his seemingly innocuous off-spinners. He dismissed Jesse Ryder (1) and under-fire opposition skipper Sourav Ganguly (2) in the first over of the innings before having Robin Uthappa (6) stumped in the first ball of the third over for the ninth hat-trick in IPL’s history.
While Ryder played a loose short to be caught by Watson at mid-on, Ganguly was a bit unfortunate. The southpaw lost his balance as one pitching on the leg-side nudged his pads and went straight into the hands of wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami, who took off the bails in a flash .
Chandila’s fourth dismissal was Anustup Majumdar, who looped a simple catch back to him.
Steven Smith (37) and Callum Ferguson (23) provided some resistance but the damage early in the chase proved decisive.
Earlier, Watson and Rahane shared a blistering 94-run stand off 60 balls to set-up the big win.
Watson continued his devastating form in the tournament, tonking four huge sixes to go with six boundaries in his 31-ball knock.
Rahane started slowly but caught up with the strike rate late in his innings. He struck seven fours in his 47-ball effort, taking his overall runs tally in the tournament to 541 at an average of 45.08.