Rajasthan Royals dished out an all-round performance to defeat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 34 runs and register their first win in the third edition of the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
Battered and bruised in the last three matches, Rajasthan Royals were in desperate need of a win and Shane Warne’s men didn’t disappoint as they first posted a competitive target of 169 and then restricted Kolkata Knight Riders to 134 for five at the Sardar Patel stadium at Motera here.
Chasing 169 to win, KKR started rather slowly as they scored at nearly six runs per over and once they lost opener Manoj Tiwary in the third over bowled by Yusuf Pathan things further slowed down.
Cheteshwar Pujara and opener Brad Hodge tried to keep the scoreboard ticking and put up a brilliant 50-run partnership for the second wicket before the former’s innings was cut shot by Siddharth Trivedi.
Pujara’s inside edge off Trivedi hit the middle stump as the Knight Riders were reduced to 68 for two in the 11th over.
Skipper Sourav Ganguly then joined Hodge and they added 27 runs before Hodge was bowled by Pathan in the 15th over.
With the required run-rate rising every moment, Ganguly and newman Owais Shah threw there bat at everything but without much success as the match slipped through their fingers.
In pursuit of runs, Ganguly perished in deep mid-wicket, caught by Adam Voges in the last over off Munaf Patel.
Anjelo Mathews coming at number six also ran himself out in the last over, while Shah was left unbeaten at 19.
Earlier, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala top scored with a 36-ball 45 to guide Rajasthan Royal to a modest 168 for seven after skipper Warne won the toss and decided to bat.
Rajasthan found themselves in a spot of bother when they lost their opener Michael Lumb in the first ball but Naman Ojha (27), Faiz Fazal (31 off 23), Jhunjhunwala and Adam Voges (37 off 22) fired in unison to lift Rajasthan bowlers to a competitive total.
Lumb flopped for the second consecutive match when he was caught plumb in front of the wicket in very first delivery of the innings by Ashok Dinda.
But other opener Ojha and Fazal steadied the ship with a 42-run first wicket partnership.
Ojha blasted five boundaries in his 18-ball innings, while Fazal cracked six fours before being caught by Cheteshwar Pujara off Shane Bond.
Ojha’s innings came to disappointing end as he was run by a combined effort from Bond and Murali Kartik.
Yusuf Pathan (15 off 14) failed to make any significant impact as he was caught by Brad Hodge off Dinda after just managing two hits to the fence.
For Knight Riders, Dinda, Ishant Sharma and Bond picked up two wickets each.