Rajasthan Royals recorded their third win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season and moved to third in the standings with a six-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here Sunday.
Poor shot selection from Punjab batsman coupled with some tight bowling by Royals bowlers led to the visitors being bowled out for 124 in 18.5 overs.
S. Sreesanth, Kevon Cooper, James Faulkner and Siddharth Trivedi all took two wickets apiece while David Hussey (41 off 31 balls) was the top scorer for Punjab.
In reply, Rajasthan stuttered to 126 for four in 19.2 overs, largely thanks to Shane Watson's (32) initial blitzkrieg and Sanju Samson's (27 not out) cameo in the end.
The victory took the Royals to third in the table tied on points with Mumbai Indians (First), Royal Challengers Bangalore (Second) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (Fourth).
Earlier, Rajasthan elected to field on a pitch with a green tinge to it. The decision paid dividend almost immediately as they reduced Punjab to 10 for three in the fourth over.
Adam Gilchrist (0), Mandeep Singh (2) and Manan Vohra (3), all returned to the hut with single figures.
Kings XI never managed to recover from this position and lost wickets at regular intervals.
David Hussey was the lone man who provided some joy to his team. He hit four boundaries and a six but failed to get the better of Siddharth Trivedi, who bowled with great control and guile.
Besides Azhar Mahmood (23) and Praveen Kumar (15), Punjab's tail failed to wag.
Rajasthan got their chase underway at break neck speed. Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, returning to the team after missing the last match through injury, smashed his way to 32 off just 19 balls.
The hosts looked to be coasting to victory with the score 43 in the fifth over. But Watson's wicket put the brakes on as Punjab through some excellent bowling clawed their way back into the game.
Rahul Dravid (9), Stuart Binny (0) and Brad Hodge (15) all failed to fire as Rajasthan were reduced to 79 for four in 13 overs.
Ajinkya Rahane(34 not out), who has been a prolific scorer in the IPL, played the sheet anchor role plugging one end up as wickets fell on the other.
Wicketkeeper Sanju Samson, playing his first match this edition, played a key role in Rajasthan's victory giving the innings a much-needed push.
He hit three crucial boundaries and together with Rahane strung a match winning 43-run partnership.
Praveen Kumar was the pick of Punjab bowlers returning with figures of 10 for two off his four overs.
Rajasthan Royals: 126 for 4 (Rahane 34*, Praveen 2-10)
Kings XI Punjab 124 (Hussey 41, Sreesanth 2-20, Trivedi 2-21)
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