Australian all-rounder Shane Watson hit a blistering unbeaten 90 off 51 balls as Rajasthan Royals thrashed Pune Warriors by seven wickets in a thoroughly one-sided IPL contest to keep their hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stage alive.
The loss was Pune's eighth in 12 matches and thus ended any theoritical chance whatsoever of making it to the knock-out stages. Royals now have 12 points and the convincing win have got them upto fourth place with a healthy net run rate of +0.265.
It was the same old story of batting failure for Ganguly and his men. The only change in the script being that Warriors skipper Sourav Ganguly opted to bat first but his team could muster only 125 for six which was certainly not enough to compete.
In reply, Watson sent the Pune bowlers on a leatherhunt as his knock came off only 51 balls laced with 10 fours and four sixes. He added 56 runs with Ashok Menaria (18) for the third wicket and Royals won with 22 balls to spare.
Watson feasted on the freebies provided by Warriors' 36-year-old longtime India discard Murali Kartik as he was hit for three fours and two sixes. The Aussie all-rounder signed off with a boundary.
Opting to bat first, Pune Warriors' batting woes continued as they could manage only 125 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.
Almost all the Warriors batsmen found the going tough as Team Rajasthan bowlers kept a tight leash on the home team batsmen.
Barring IPL debutant Anustup Majumdar who scored a quickfire 30, all the other batsmen found it hard to accelerate the pace of scoring on a pitch where strokmaking seemed difficult. Even Pune's best batsman Steve Smith struggled managing only 18 off 22 balls.