Mohali: May 5, 2012
Rajasthan Royals threatened to run away with a big score with a solid batting display at the top before Kings XI Punjab clawed their way back to restrict the visitors to 177 for six in their Indian Premier League match.
Electing to bat, all the Rajasthan top-order batsmen, except for Ajinkya Rahane (5), were among runs as the visitors were 94 for two at the halfway mark only to fritter away the chance for a big score towards the end.
Captain Rahul Dravid top-scored with 46 while Shane Watson (36 off 17 balls), Ashok Menaria (34 off 27 balls) and Brad Hodge (36 off 23 balls) chipped in with some strokeful knocks on a PCA Stadium pitch on which ball came nicely onto the bat.
For KXIP, Australian pacer Ryan Harris scalped four wickets for 34 runs while leg-spinner Piyush Chawla took two wickets for 38. All the KXIP bowlers went for runs but they came back strongly in the second part of the innings.
Watson was the most aggressive of the Rajasthan batsman as he hit four fours and two sixes while Dravid, who hit eight four in his 39-ball innings, held one end initially before he was out in the 14th over.
After Watson was out in the eighth over, Maneria carried on the tempo with some lusty hits. He was though lucky as he was dropped near the boundary by Mandeep Singh. He was eventually out off the bowling of Chawla in the 16th over.
Hodge then took the score past 175 with some big hits, including a six each off Harris and Azhar Mahmood. Harris, however, had the last laugh as he claimed Hodge's wicket in the final over.
Rajasthan lost in-form opener Rahane in the second over.
After hitting a boundary off Harris, Rahane tried to cut a ball that was moving away from him and with wicketkeeper Nitin Saini completed the catch.
However, the visitors quickly put the tournament's top run getter's loss behind them as Watson cut loose with Dravid also in great touch.
When Harris was back to bowl his second over, Dravid hit three consecutive boundaries of him followed by two hits to the fence of Praveen Kumar and another one from Watson.
Both batsmen hit some lusty shots of medium pacer Praveen Kumar, who gave away just eight runs in the previous match.
Medium pacer Parvinder Awana also came under heavy fire from Watson who hit him two boundaries and a six when the bowler was brought in the sixth over in which he gave away 19 runs.
Dravid and Watson weaved a 69-run partnership for the second wicket before the Australian fell to Chawla in the eighth with Harris making a valiant diving effort at long off to take the catch.
After Watson's fall, left-handed Menaria walked in and Royals reached 100 runs in the 12th over.
Dravid was caught by Awana off Harris in the 14th over and Menaria followed soon, giving a catch to Gurkeerat Singh off Piyush Chawla.
Hodge and Johan Botha (not out 14) batted brilliantly and they punished Mahmood and Harris. Hodge, after hitting a six and a four off Harris in the final over, fell to the same bowler.
Praveen Kumar once again remained wicketless and went for 32 runs. Awana gave away 34 runs and Mahmood proved expensive giving away 37 in the four overs he bowled. (PTI)
Brief Scores: RR 177 for 6 in 20 overs(Rahul Dravid 46, Shane Watson 36; Ryan Harris 4 for 34, Piyush Chawla 2 for 38) vs KXIP