Mohali: The reaction from Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid when David Hussey was dismissed said it all how desperate was his team to break their 4-match losing spree and register a win against their hosts Kings XI Punjab at Mohali on Saturday.
Rajasthan Royals: 177/6 beat Kings XI Punjab 134/8 by 43 runs
Rajasthan Royals made five changes in their squad and included speedster Shaun Tait in their playing XI. The visiting team responded well to the occasion and completed a clinical victory over their opponents, outplaying them both with the bat and the ball.
Punjab never looked in a comfortable position losing wickets regularly and in quick succession. Barring Shaun Marsh(34) at the top and Azhar Mahmood (24) and Gurkeerat Singh at the bottom, none of their batsmen looked to pitch tent in the middle following each other eagerly to the dugout.
Rajasthan’s bowling that has come under criticism finally clicked in as the bowlers kept pressure on the batsman and coaxed them into committing errors even as the run rate kept soaring with every passing over. Watson, Tait and Botha took two wickets apiece while leaking just 61 runs between them in 12 overs.
Electing to bat first on a track that had a hint or two of grass on it, Rajasthan lost the wicket of their in-form batsman early on with the score board reading 7. In came Shane Watson and he together with his skipper Rahul Dravid unleashed a flurry of boundaries that saw their score racing to 76 runs in just 8 overs.
Watson was particularly looking in fine nick and played the role of the aggressor hitting Parvinder Awana for two boundaries and a six in consecutive deliveries. He was caught by Ryan Harris long-off as he tried hitting Piyush Chawla for a maximum. However, he had already hit him for a biggie over long-on off the previous ball.
Dravid had earlier set the ball rolling as he dispatched three consecutive boundaries off Ryan Harris—all three driven beautifully. He departed after scoring 46 (39b, 4X8). Ashok Menaria chipped in with 34 while later on, Brad Hodge with a brisk 36 helped them to a total of 177/6.
Rajasthan can take a lot of positive out of this match but will have to think seriously about their catching as they dropped a few in the middle today.