Rajasthan Royals got a win that proves out to be critical as the team get the momentum back. Their batting was empowered by the blazing innings of Adam Voges and Faiz Fazal and it was followed by clinical bowling performance as they got a 31-run win to push them to a joint-fourth in the points table.
Punjab got a perfect start as their skipper made 29 runs of just 13 balls. This short cameo was followed by a fiery cameo by Bisla. This young Haryana player had many chances to prove his talent but he was not able to meet their expectations and this time he utilized it perfectly. He struck the ball all around the ground and he punished every bowler who bowled to him. He didn’t leave the magical spinner Warne also as he struck a four and a six in his over.
And its revenge time for Warne as he take this danger batsman out with a beautiful top-spinner. With a kind of start these two gave and with a strong middle-order that has experienced batsman like Jayawardene and dashing batsman Yuvraj Singh, Punjab is expected to chase down the total with ease. But clever variations from seamers Siddharth Trivedi and Munaf Patel, and some uninspiring batting from the rest of the line-up, cut short what was gearing up to be a more exciting fixture.
The conditions at Mohali were supporting fast bowling and Punjab bowlers with the Punjab opening bowlers beating the outside edge on more than one occasion, and Shaun Tait doing the same during the chase. Tait, who had a poor start to the IPL, bowled a couple of excellent outswingers at Ravi Bopara but suffered an onslaught from Sangakkara, whose frequent hits to the boundary were as much a consequence of good fortune as the batsman’s conviction.
Yuvraj Singh, who looked like a man in-form in a thrilling chase against Chennai, and looked to continue that when he smacked a straight six off Warne. But his poor-timed shot off Trivedi, having been dropped two balls earlier, marked the beginning of the collapse that squandered a healthy position of 107 for 2 in the 11th over.
When Irfan Pathan was run-out brilliantly by Abhishek Jhunjhunwala in the 13th over, and Mohammad Kaif trapped in front by Yusuf Pathan 11 balls later, Punjab had lost four batsmen for 19 runs in 23 balls and the team finally fall 31 runs short of their target.
Even during the first innings, Rajasthan had the upper hand as their batsmen completely overplayed Punjab bowlers. On a pitch that supported to fast bowlers, it was a poor show by Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth and Shalab Srivatsava as none of them troubled the batsmen.
After woeful starts in the previous matches, Lumb gave Rajasthan a kind of start that will keep him fixed in the team. Lumb and his aggressive partner Ojha gave a good start to Rajasthan for the first time in this tournament. After the fall of openers in the first eight overs, it was the responsibility of the middle-order to make some defendable total and the batsmen succeded in accomplishing their job.
Adam Voges and Yusuf started to take charge after their openers fall. Yusuf was unsuccessful in capitalizing upon the life his brother gave to him and Irfan took the wicket of his brother in 11th over. But as Fazal joined Voges, and this duo started taking charge of Punjab bowlers. The spaces on either side, between long-on and deep midwicket and long-off and deep extra cover, were exploited, as Yuvraj, Piyush Chawla and Irfan were taken for two fours and a six in consecutive overs.
Fazal, too, began fluently but ceded the floor to Yusuf and then Voges before opening up. He seized on length deliveries to dispatch four boundaries in successive overs off Irfan and Rusty Theron in the death overs; his 60-run stand with Voges, off 37 balls, gave Rajasthan a formidable total, one that thwarted Sangakkara’s plans at the toss to limit them to under 150 and handed their team another morale-boosting win.
By: Ganta Rakesh