A resilient Rajasthan Royals put a competitive total on the board and defended it with all their might to carve out a 31-run win against Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Put into bat, the Royals rode on brisk cameos by Adam Voges (45 not out), Faiz Fazal (45) and Michel Lumb (41) to post 183 for five at the PCA Stadium.
Returning to defend the total, Shane Warne and his men put up a tremendous team effort to skittle out the hosts for 152 in 19.1 overs and register their second victory of the tournament.
Once again the star players let down the Punjab side and the bulk of their runs came from Manvinder Bisla (35), Kumar Sangakkara (29) and Ravi Bopara (25).
Shaun Tait claimed three wickets for 22, while Yusuf Pathan and Sidhharth Trivedi got two apiece for the Royals.
It, however, looked different at the beginning of the Punjab innings with Sangakkara taking the onus on himself to set the tone for the chase and hitting back-to-back boundaries off Munaf Patel.
Tait copped three boundaries in his second over as well before the Australian removed Sangakkara but by then the opening stand had raised 41 runs in four overs.
Bisla (35 off 18 balls) then lit up the stadium with his power-hitting and Munaf bore the brunt of his ire.
The right-hander opened his account with a boundary, followed it up with a six and hit fours off the last two deliveries as well in that high-yielding over.
Shane Warne did not get the respect he is used to and was hit for a four followed by a six before the wily Australian returned to avenge the mauling.
Yuvraj Singh’s (15) quest for form continued and the star player could not make a mark despite getting a life after being dropped by Lumb in the deep.
Bopara and Irfan Pathan (1) fell in the same over and Mohd Kaif (8) flopped once again as the home side saw the match slipping through their fingers.
Earlier put into bat on a track which seemed to have something early for the pacers, Rajasthan Royals got off to a flying start in the match billed as the ‘basement battle’ involving two teams languishing at the bottom of the IPL points table.
Michael Lumb was straightaway in the thick of things as he smote two fours of Irfan Pathan’s first over and his opening partner Naman Ojha (13) meted out the same treatment to comeback man S Sreesanth, who was drafted in at offie Ramesh Powar’s expense.
Boundaries came thick and fast and the score cruised to 35 when Ojha’s stay was cut short in the fourth over and the batsman received an animated send-off from bowler Sreesanth.
An unperturbed Lumb hit Shalabh Srivastava for back-to-back boundaries and was inching close to his fifty when a smart piece of stumping by Sangakkara, off Piyush Chawla’s only second delivery, cut short the Johannesburg-born Englishman’s 30-ball knock that had seven crisp fours in it.
Next man in Yusuf Pathan has done precious little after that 37-ball century against Mumbai Indians in his team’s IPL 3 opener and if his score went beyond seven today, he owes it to his brother Irfan.
Irfan came running from long-off to pouch Yusuf’s miscued skier off Srivastava but eventually grassed it to give a life to his brother.
Yusuf prospered to hit a brisk 19-ball 28 before Srivastava eventually had him, caught by Yuvraj Singh in the deep.
In Fazal’s (45 off 38) reassuring company, Voges kept the scoreboard ticking with his smart yet risk-free cricket built around immaculate placement but the home side bowlers –especially the miserly Juan Theron — ensured they did not leak easy boundaries.
Fazal fell run out in the final over and Voges hit a boundary off the final delivery to take the score past the 180-mark.
Voges’ breezy 24-ball unbeaten knock had five fours and a six in it.