Rajasthan give Punjab cricketing lessons
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab
Player:GC Smith, NV Ojha, Amit Singh, PP Chawla
Event:Indian Premier League 2009

DateLine: 5th May 2009


Half-centuries by openers Graeme Smith and Naman Ojha and an excellent bowling effort by Amit Singh helped Rajasthan Royals cruise to a 78-run win over the Kings XI Punjab. The win places them in the second spot in the point tally of the IPL, with nine points in eight matches.


Chasing a mammoth 212 to win, Punjab got off to a disastrous start as Amit struck twice in his first over to remove Karan Goel (1) and Sunny Sohal (0) to set up what was then a procession of batsmen walking back to the pavilion.


Simon Katich (10), Kumar Sangakkara (11) and Mahela Jayawardene (9) soon joined them in the dug out and the Punjab outfit was very much out of the game at this stage, having lost half their side with less than 40 on the board.


Yuvraj Singh (48) and Irfan Pathan (19) then stitched together a partnership of 39 runs in just over five overs but they very well knew that it was all a lost cause. The duo was separated by Royals skipper Shane Warne when he found Pathan plumb in front of his wickets, with the Punjab score tottering at 87/6.


After that it was just a formality. That it were necessary rituals to be carried upon was quite evident from the actions of Punjab skipper Yuvraj who looked disinterested and unhappy over his teams pathetic display.


Earlier in the day, Yuvraj won the toss and invited Rajasthan to bat first. It seemed this was the invitation the Royals were looking for, as both openers Naman Ojha (68) and Graeme Smith (77) launched a brutal attack on the Punjab bowlers from the word go to bring up the highest score in this year's IPL.


Ojha went berserk in the very first over and hit off-spinner Romesh Powar for two sixes and a boundary to get the Royals off to a rollicking start. In fact the decision to ask Powar bowl the first over was surprising in itself, considering the fact that the pitch had a tinge of green on it and the condition were conducive to seam bowling.


Yuvraj got back his seamers after that but the script hardly changed. Both the openers went after the lose deliveries which surprisingly came in good numbers from bowlers, who till now had done a good job for their team.


Yusuf Abdulla went for 44 in three overs, Irfan 40 off four and comeback man S. Sreesanth gave away 44 in his four. Sreesanth's last over went for 23 runs and included two free hits via no-balls.


Both Smith and Ojha added 135 runs in close to 15 overs post which Smith fell to Powar in a bid to further up the ante. But by then the damage had already been inflicted on the Punjab side. Smith played with a strike rate of 175 and for him and the Royals, it was a welcome return to form. The timing of striking form is also crucial since Shane Watson would be back to join the side in a few days and that would make this batting attack very strong.


His fall brought the Baroda basher Yusuf Pathan (12) onto the crease who wasted no time to reveal his ferocity, going after the bowling from the word go. He though did not garner huge success as he failed to connect well to a Piyush Chawla delivery and was caught at the long on boundary. Ojha also fell soon to the same bowler after hitting a six early in the over.


After that Ravindra Jadeja (33) and Lee Carseldine (16) who hit a good 39 in the previous game, carried the momentum and took the total past the two hundred mark, the first time in the IPL second edition.