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IPL desk in Mumbai 13 May 2012 - 07:54pm IST

Report: Match 60 – RR v PWI

RR stay in the playoff hunt thanks to commanding win over PWI

The Rajasthan Royals kept their playoff hopes alive with a comprehensive 45-run win over the Pune Warriors India. A combined effort from Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane and Ajit Chandila put the Royals on course for this big win at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Chasing 171 to win, the Warriors made a horrendous start. Jesse Ryder (1) mistimed an Ajit Chandila delivery into Shane Watson’s hands at mid-on off the fifth delivery of the innings. But Chandila wasn’t done surprising PWI. The off-spinner got one past Sourav Ganguly’s (2) pads to get the Warriors’ skipper stumped. With PWI stuttering at three for two, the Royals were already on top after the first over. The situation continued to worsen for the Warriors with Chandila getting his hat-trick after luring Robin Uthappa (6) out of his crease and having him stumped by Shreevats Goswami.

The 28-year-old off-spinner’s fairytale performance continued after he bagged his fourth wicket. Anustup Majumdar (9) was completely outfoxed and lobbed a simple catch back to Chandila to reduce the away side to 26 for four. Callum Ferguson and Steve Smith brought some stability to the PWI chase, but it didn’t last long as Johan Botha trapped Ferguson (23) lbw. With the required run-rate increasing every ball, Smith (37) tried to break the shackles only to get holed out at long-on. At 89 for six, it was all but over for the Warriors as the home side kept on taking wickets to peg the Warriors back. 125 for nine is all that the Warriors could muster in 20 overs.

Earlier, Rahul Dravid won the toss and decided to bat first on a slow Sawai Mansingh Stadium wicket. PWI bowlers began well by restricting the run flow and getting the all-important early breakthrough. Rahul Dravid (21) nicked one to Robin Uthappa off an Ashish Nehra delivery to leave the home side on 29 for one. That brought the in-form Shane Watson to the crease. The Aussie, along with Ajinkya Rahane, ensured that the run-rate surged ahead thanks to some lusty hitting. The RR all-rounder looked in complete control, smashing four sixes and six fours en route to a 31-ball 58. However, Nehra dismissed the dangerous Watson by getting one to crash into his stumps.

Rahane (61), on the other hand, stroked the ball around with ease to keep the runs ticking for the Royals. Brad Hodge (14) failed to settle and perished while trying to up the ante. This gave Nehra his third wicket of the innings. At 156 for three, RR needed quick runs, but Angelo Mathews’ yorker was too much for Rahane to handle. Despite all their attacking intent, the Pune Warriors India eventually managed to limit the Royals to a 170 for four.

Scorecard

Man of the match:  Ajit Chandila for taking a well-deserved hat-trick and in process destroying the PWI top-order with his magical spell of 4-0-13-4

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