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RR register convincing seven-wicket away win over PWI
By IPL desk
Mumbai 08 May 2012
The Rajasthan Royals went to Pune with 10 points from 11 games, placed sixth on the points table. With a seven-wicket win over the Pune Warriors India, they have now replaced the Chennai Super Kings at the fourth position with 12 points due to their superior run-rate. RR’s charge was led by two Australians – Shaun Tait (three for 13) and Shane Watson (90* off 51 balls). After Tait restricted the hosts to 125, Watson ensured they reach the target with 22 balls to spare.
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).
Knight Riders emerge victorious out of Devils’ den to top points table
By IPL desk
Mumbai 07 May 2012
After spoiling Sourav Ganguly’s homecoming at the Eden Gardens, it was Gautam Gambhir’s turn to play an away game on the ground where he grew up playing his cricket – the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. Unlike the former Indian captain’s team, his side returned victorious from the Devils’ den by six wickets. With this win, the Kolkata Knight Riders (17 points) replaced the Delhi Daredevils at the top of the DLF IPL 2012 table.
Gambhir and Brendon McCullum took the Kotla by storm, helping KKR to the fastest team fifty in IPL 2012, in 30 balls. The Kiwi opener went after the pacers, while Gambhir attacked the in-form left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem. The KKR skipper made his way back to the dugout when Varun Aaron hit the stumps. Umesh Yadav had dropped him in the deep off the previous delivery. Gambhir scored 36 off 21 balls.
Gambhir’s departure put an end to the opening stand at 68, but not to McCullum’s butchery. He continued to clobber all the bowlers en route to a match-winning 56. With this knock, the wicketkeeper-batsman ended a streak of 17 innings without an IPL half-century. He struck seven fours during his 44-ball innings.
McCullum was the second of the two consecutive wickets taken by Yadav in the 16th over to peg KKR back a bit. Yadav produced two bouncers to get rid of Kallis and McCullum, when KKR were cruising with a required run-rate of six. The strikes, though, came a bit too late for the hosts as KKR completed a comfortable win in 18.4 overs.
Earlier, after electing to bat first, Sehwag was in his element, looking set to continue his smashing form in IPL 2012. He plundered 23 runs in nine deliveries before Jacques Kallis trapped him plumb in front of the wicket. David Warner, playing his first game of IPL 2012, took time to find his feet as he played out a maiden over from Brett Lee to begin DD’s innings. In his next over, however, Lee was tonked for a four and a six by the Australian dynamite. The dangerous-looking knock was cut short by Kallis, who bowled out his four overs in a single spell that produced figures of two for 20.
Mahela Jayawardene (30) walked in and began what turned out to be a very charmed life at the crease. He was let off by the umpire when, batting on three, he seemed to have nicked one to the wicketkeeper. An over later Brendon McCullum missed a chance to catch him. The umpire’s decision to turn down the appeal against Jayawardene didn’t go down too well with the KKR skipper and he let the batsman know it in as many words. Things heated up between the two as the characteristically calm Sri Lankan too lost his cool. The incident brought out the aggression in both players and was a part of the discussion during the strategic timeout.
While Jayawardene played a couple of attacking shots for boundaries, Gambhir had the last laugh when he produced a splendid piece of fielding to run the batsman out with a direct hit.
Ross Taylor’s struggle for form continued as was evident during his scratchy 27-ball stay at the wicket for just 16 runs. With the DD innings losing its way, Irfan Pathan chipped in with a valuable cameo of 36 off 22 balls, including four boundaries and a six. Sunil Narine remained a mystery for most of the batsmen as his spell of four overs produced 23 runs and two wickets.