Rajasthan Royals thrash Kings XI Punjab by 43 runs

Mohali, May 6: Rajasthan Royals recorded their first victory after a string of four defeats with a convincing 43-run win over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium here Saturday.

A good all-round effort by the Rajasthan batsmen propelled them to a score of 177 for six and some tight bowling helped them restrict Kings XI Punjab to 134 for eight.

It was a brilliant team effort by the 2008 champions led by former India captain Rahul Dravid.

Johan Botha (2-21), Shane Watson (2-22) and Shaun Tait (2-18) took two wickets each while Siddharth Trivedi and Stuart Binny took wicket apiece. Watson, who also struck a 17-ball 36, was also adjudged Man of the Match.

The only cause for worry for the visitors was their poor fielding performance. They could have wrapped up the match much earlier but dropped three easy catches.

Kings XI Punjab chasing a big target never looked in the hunt. They were dealt early blows as their in-form batsman Mandeep Singh (7) got out playing a rash shot while Tait, playing his first game, accounted for Nitin Saini (2).

Captain David Hussey (8) too did not stay long at the crease and with Shaun Marsh (34) departing the very next over, it was all but over for the hosts.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood (24) put up a brief fight but was deceived by a slower ball from Binny.

Earlier, electing to bat, Rajasthan lost their top run getter Ajinkya Rahane (5) in the second over, caught behind off Australian Ryan Harris.

Skipper Rahul Dravid (46) and Watson (36) strung together a 69-run partnership for the second wicket to put Rajasthan in the driving seat. Dravid, who recently retired from international cricket, looked in great touch hitting eight fours in his 39-ball innings.

The Indian veteran then forged another good partnership with young Ashok Menaria (34) as Rajasthan looked well on their way to set a big start.

However, things came to a standstill as Harris, who ended with figures of four for 34, sent Dravid back to the pavilion.

Brad Hodge though played a blistering innings late on, scoring 36 off 23 balls as he propelled the visitors to an imposing total.

IANS