IPL desk in Mumbai 08 May 2012 - 07:55pm IST
Report: Match 52 – PWI v RR
RR register convincing seven-wicket away win over PWI
Watson made the already modest target of 126 look ridiculously easy with his power hitting. The Aussie all-rounder was especially severe on left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, carting him for fours and sixes straight down the ground. Against the pacers, he pulled, cut and glanced. In all, Watson hit 10 fours and four sixes. He reached his half-century in 27 balls and continued in the same vein to see his team through. Coming in to bat at the fall of Ajinkya Rahane (0), Watson soon lost Rahul Dravid (14 off 16 balls) before putting up a 56-run stand with Ashok Menaria (18 off 21 balls).
Watson could’ve easily walked back with a score of 17, courtesy of a super-juggler named Steve Smith. The batsman thwacked one over long-on where Smith ran to hold a one-handed catch. While on the edge of the boundary, the fielder threw the ball in the air as his feet went on the other side of the rope. He jumped back in, juggled the ball and finally caught it. However, the most extraordinary fielding effort of the tournament went in vain as the umpire signalled a six. A few balls earlier, Smith had taken a brilliant diving catch at point to dismiss Rahane. However, RR had the last laugh as they cruised home to a seven-wicket win in just 16.2 overs.
Earlier, Sourav Ganguly’s decision to bat first and open the innings with himself and Michael Clarke backfired as the Royals maintained a stranglehold on the PWI innings right from the word go. Batsmen struggled to put bat on ball and the home team had only 35 runs on board after the powerplay. They had also lost their skipper, Ganguly (14 off 18 balls), who was bounced out by Shaun Tait. By the time they reached the fifty-run mark, they were two down, with Stuart Binny getting rid of Clarke (16 off 18 balls).
With the Warriors in a shambles, in walked Anustup Majumdar, who was playing his first IPL game. The Bengal lad appeared to be batting on a different track than his senior colleagues, when he struck Ankeet Chavan for two consecutive sixes and followed up with a boundary off Johan Botha. However, the party didn’t last too long for the hosts, as Botha castled him with a perfect yorker. Majumdar top-scored for PWI with 30 off 20 balls; the second-highest scorer for them was Steve Smith (18 off 22 balls).
Shaun Tait was the pick of the Royals’ bowlers; he picked up the wickets of Ganguly, Robin Uthappa (13) and Mithun Manhas (11) for just 13 runs in his four overs. He received fine support from Botha (4-0-25-1) and Stuart Binny (3-0-12-1).
Man of the Match: Shane Watson for his blistering knock of 90 (10x4; 4x6) off 51 balls that helped RR coast to victory