Coaching duo Darren Berry and Jeremy Snape drew a deep breath before walking out on the field to congratulate the team members after Team Jaipur thrashed Kings XI Punjab by 78 runs.
It was the most comprehensive victory in the tournament so far and the second successive one for their team, helping Shane Warne’s team momentarily leapfrog to the top of the table until the next game.
Jaipur are finally where the defending champions have wanted to belong and while the positions will keep changing with every game hereafter, they have the confidence now to deal with what lies ahead.
Yuvraj Singh won the toss and asked Shane Warne to bat first, expecting Graeme Smith’s wretched form so far to continue. But it turned out to be just the opposite.
Smith, who had scored just 65 runs in six matches so far, smashed a 44-ball 77 to set the platform for the IPL’s highest total so far.
Jaipur reached 211 for the loss of four wickets with Smith’s opening partner and wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha playing a remarkable role in the 135-run stand for the first wicket. Ojha scored a 51-ball 68 while Smith began taking on the Punjab attack, rejuvenated with the comeback of S Sreesanth.
Ravindra Jadeja and Lee Carseldine were the next batsmen to come in and take advantage of the start provided by the openers.
“Class never disappears and Graeme Smith is a class batsman,” Berry said after the game. His coaching partner Snape added: “Perhaps Lee Carseldine is that vital element in the lineup the team was looking for and now the balance is perfect.”
By the time Kings XI could get a feel of the target out in the middle, three wickets were already gone in fact they were 2-2 in the first over itself and they hardly looked like recovering.
Except for Yuvraj’s 37-ball 48, Irfan Pathans 17-ball 19 and their 48-run partnership for the sixth wicket, none of the other batsmen delivered. Jaipur’s man-of-the-moment with the ball was Amit Singh.