Date: 5thMay 2012, 8 pm
Venue: PCA Stadium, Mohali
Toss: Rajasthan Royals, Batting
Result: Rajasthan Royals won by 43 runs
MoM: Shane Watson
A fine all-round performance saw the Royals get back to their winning ways, right where they started, against the Kings XI Punjab. Chasing a tall order of 178 to win, Punjab faltered by 43 runs, giving the Royals a much needed comprehensive win and keeping their hopes very much alive in the final four.
The Royals never really allowed any of the Punjab batsmen to get away and took wickets at regular intervals to mount pressure on Punjab. Chasing a mammoth total, Punjab would have wanted a blistering start but instead Watson produced a pressure mounting maiden wicket! The scoring never really took off apart from the one over that saw four successive boundaries.
The Royals Express, Shaun Tait, played his first game of the season and stuck in his very first over. It was a great move to play him because the wicket had grass, bounce and pace. Botha, Trivedi and Binny were all amongst the wickets with only Marsh showing attacking intent with Mahmood and Gurkeerat Singh contributing the only other significant runs off the bat.
After a great batting display and equally matched bowling performance, the one thing that would have hurt the Royals is some very poor catching. But luck seemed to favour the Royals with those chances not proving mighty costly. However, having held on to those fairly straight forward chances may have instead resulted in a 60-run win. Along with the extra wides, the Royals would want to polish things up before their next big game.
The big joy for the Royals was the good contributions from Dravid, Watto, Menaria and Hodge, who along with Botha provided the much needed late blast of runs. Watson looked in prime touch destroying the Punjab attack with Dravid too taking on the role of an aggressor. Menaria too, chipped in with a useful 34. The quick fall of set batsmen after the 12th over did slow things for the Royals, but the T20 maestro Hodge ensured that they reached their 180-run target; setting 178 for a win.
Rajasthan Royals: 177/7 (20) Rahul Dravid 46 (39b, 8x4), Shane Watson 36 (17b, 4x4, 2x6), Brad Hodge 36 (23b, 2x4, 2x6), Ryan Harris 4/34 (4)
Kings XI Punjab: 134/4 (20) Shaun Marsh34 (27b, 5x4, 1x6), Azhar Mahmood 24 (24b, 2x4, 1x6), Shaun Tait 2/18 (4), Johan Botha 2/21 (4), Watson 2/22 (4)