Zeecric Bureau/Vaibhav Arora
Jaipur: Michael Lumb rose to the occasion with a brilliant 83 off 43 balls as Rajasthan Royals annihilated the Kings XI Punjab by 9 wickets to rise up to the third spot in the IPL points table.
Lumb was ably supported by Naman Ojha, who remained unbeaten on 44 off 37 balls. Yusuf Pathan, who came in at the fall of Lumb’s wicket, too remained undefeated on 21 (13 balls). None of the Punjab bowlers could make an impact with the only wicket of the innings going to Ravi Bopara.
Rajasthan’s dominance was evident from the fact that they chased down the 154-run target set by the Punjab team with 5 overs to spare.
Michael Lumb was predictably declared the Man of the Match for his match winning knock.
Chasing a modest target of 154 for victory, Royals were off to a blazing start as opening batsman Lumb took the attack to the opposition, helping the team to 35 runs off the first 3 overs. Sreesanth was at the receiving end as he gave away 17 runs in his second over including two no-balls and a wide.
Lumb unleashed a flurry of boundaries as Rajasthan darted past the 50-run mark in just the 4th over of the innings. Even after scoring 17 runs off a Sreesanth over, Lumb did not stop and smashed Juan Theron for 20 runs in the very next over, which included 3 fours and a six.
Soon after, Lumb reached his maiden IPL 50 with another boundary off Piyush Chawla. Lumb’s half ton came off just 28 balls and included 10 fours and a six.
Kings XI Punjab fielders could do nothing but watch the ball stroll past the boundary ropes as Rajasthan Royals eclipsed the 100-run mark in the 9th over with all the wickets in hand. None of the bowlers were spared a thrashing at the hands off Lumb.
Just when it looked like Michael Lumb would take the team home well before the stipulated 20 overs, Punjab sensed a ray of hope as the dashing left hander miscued a shot straight into the hands of Piyush Chawla off the bowling of Ravi Bopara.
Lumb’s heroics ended but not before he had smashed 83 runs off 43 balls including 16 fours and 2 sixes.
Earlier in the first innings, after a good start to their innings and scoring at a decent rate of close to 9 runs an over, the Kings XI Punjab batsmen lost their way and ended up with a paltry total of 153/6 off their stipulated quota of 20 overs.
The sorry state of the affairs can be gauged from the fact that only 27 runs came off the last 5 overs at the cost of 2 wickets. Mahela Jayawardene emerged the top scorer yet again with 44. For Rajasthan, youngsters Aditya Dole and Siddhrtha Trivedi took two scalps each.
Having elected to bat first after winning the toss; Kings XI received an early jolt as Manvinder Bisla was sent back to the pavilion by Shane Watson with the score at 29. Bisla, who made 20, was caught at square leg off an attempted hook, by Faiz Fazal.
Despite losing an early wicket, Kings XI Punjab cruised past the 50-run mark in the sixth over of their innings with the Sri Lankan duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene looking in excellent touch.
Sangakkara became the second Kings wicket to fall after he was sent back by Trivedi for 9. Sangakkara was brilliantly caught by Yusuf Pathan at midwicket as he came down the wicket and tried to hit a big one.
Dole sent back both Yuvraj Singh and Mahela Jayawardene in the same over to reduce Punjab to 109/4. Jayawardene became the latest casualty after he was caught at wide slip by Warne for 44 (33 deliveries).
Earlier, Yuvraj Singh looked in good touch before he inside edged one on to the stumps to give Dole his first wicket of the game. Yuvraj, who made 28 off 16 balls, was cleaned up as he attempted a pull off a short and wide delivery.
Having struggled to make just 8 runs off 11 balls, Ravi Bopara’s short stint at the wicket ended after a mix-up between him and Irfan Pathan proved fatal. Piyush Chwla became the last batsman to take the long walk back to the pavilion after holding out to Abhishek Jhunjhunwala at long-on for just 10.
Rajasthan Royals: MJ Lumb, SR Watson, YK Pathan, NV Ojha†, FY Fazal, AA Jhunjhunwala, AC Voges, AS Raut, SK Warne*, SK Trivedi, AP Dole
Kings XI Punjab: RS Bopara, MS Bisla†, KC Sangakkara*, DPMD Jayawardene, Yuvraj Singh, IK Pathan, J Theron, PP Chawla, S Sreesanth, Bipul Sharma, RR Powar