Rajasthan Royals ease past battered Kings XI Punjab

Michael Lumb butchered the Kings XI bowlers with a whirlwind 43-ball 83 as Rajasthan Royals spanked their opponents from Punjab by nine wickets in their Indian Premier League match here on Wednesday.

Lumb blasted as many as 16 boundaries and two sixes and amassed 109 off 57 balls with opener Naman Ojha (44 off 37 balls) to help Rajasthan overhaul the target with five overs to spare and inch closer to booking their semifinal berth.

Earlier, Mahela Jayawardene top-scored with a 33-ball 44 and Yuvraj Singh hit a 28-run cameo but Kings XI lost momentum and could manage only 27 runs losing two wickets in the last five overs to score a modest 153.

Lumb was at his attacking best as the English cricketer tore apart the Kings XI bowling and plundered fours and sixes at will to single-handedly take Rajathan Royals to the fastest IPL 3 fifty in 3.5 overs.

Sreesanth was in his firing line in the first over when Lumb slammed two fours off him before picking up four more boundaries spread over the next two overs off Ramesh Powar and Sreesanth.

But it was the fourth over when Lumb went completely berserk and plundered Juan Theron for three boundaries and a six to pick up 20 runs as Rajasthan reached 55 for no loss in 4 overs.

Silent all this time, Naman Ojha then got into the act and clubbed a couple of fours off Powar.

Lumb picked up another four off Piyush Chawla in the next over and then picked up a single to complete his well-deserved fifty in 28 balls.

Bipul Sharma was then introduced into the attack but there was no respite for the 26-year-old spinner as Lumb fired two more fours, before sending Chawla out of the park in the next over.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara then tossed the ball to Irfan Pathan but it made no difference to Lumb’s plans as he went on to acculumate 17 runs off the left-arm pacer which included four fours en route to Rajasthan’s 108 in nine overs.

Ravi Bopara finally brought an end to his innings when looking for a shot over mid-wicket, Lumb ended up giving a catch to Chawla.

However, Ojha and Yusuf Pathan (21 not out) made sure there was no more hiccups and forged a 33-ball 48-run stand to romp home in quick time.

Earlier, Jayawardene plundered six boundaries and one six, while Yuvraj Singh (28) blasted three sixes and one four to set the tone but Kings XI kept losing wickets and couldn’t accelarate in the end to post a modest 153.

Manvinder Bisla (20) gave Punjab a rollicking start, slamming a couple of fours off Aditya Dole, before welcoming Shane Watson with two more boundaries over point and mid-on.

Last match hero Mehela Jayawardene also got into the act and played a lovely sweep shot off Yusuf Pathan behind square to pick up his first boundary.

However, Watson came back in the next over removing Bisla. Looking for a pull shot, Bisla’s top-edge lobbed straight to Faiz Faisal at square leg as Kings XI were reduced to 29 for one in 3.3 overs.

Unfazed Jayawardene then blasted a six and a four in successive balls off Dole’s second over to keep the tempo high, while new-man Kumar Sangakkara (9) picked up a four off Pathan in the next over.

Shane Warne then introduced Siddharth Trivedi into the attack and the Gujarat cricketer straight away dismissed Sangakkara off his first ball to reduce Punjab to 52 for two in 6.1 overs.

Jayawardene continued his good work and picked up two more boundaries, while Yuvraj Singh’s slog-sweep earned him his first six off Warne in the ninth over.

Pathan almost had Jayawardene in the ninth over but Dole dropped a sitter to give a life to the Sri Lankan.

Yuvraj (28), meanwhile, took Warne for special treatment and plundered two sixes and a four to take Punjab to 103 for two in 11 overs.

However, the left-hander’s innings came to an abrupt end when he bottom-edged a delivery from Dole onto his stumps. One ball later Jayawardene also perished when his leading edge flew to Warne as Punjab suddenly slipped to 109 for four in 11.5 overs.

Ravi Bopara (8) and Irfan Pathan (24 not out) then added 19 runs before a terrible mix-up cost the former his wicket.

Irfan and Piyush Chawla (10) then picked up ones and twos to take Kings XI to 149 before the latter was caught by Jhunjhunwala at long-on.

For Rajasthan, Siddharth Trivedi and Aditya Dole picked up two wickets each giving away 22 and 36 runs respectively, while Shane Watson accounted for one wicket for 19 runs.

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