Leg-spinner Pravin Tambe (four for 15) helped Rajasthan Royals secure a 30-run win over Highveld Lions at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on Wednesday.
Chasing 184, Highveld Lions lost Quinton de Kock early when the southpaw tried to work Shane Watson towards leg-side but got a leading-edge which was caught by Ashok Menaria at cover-point. Upto that point de Kock was looking dangerous, hitting two fours and a six in his 10-ball short stay where he scored 18. Rassie van der Dussan, who opened the batting alongwith de Kock, then took the attack to Vikramjeet Malik. The first ball of the fifth over was hit over point for a boundary. The fourth ball was picked up over mid-on and Malik was put under tremendous pressure. The Rajasthan opening bowler was then hoodwinked by a slower delivery which van der Dussen played a tad early and he was caught by Rahul Dravid at mid-on. On the next ball, Temba Bavuma attempted an impetuous on-the-up drive which gave Malik his second wicket.
At 36 for three in the fifth over, Lions needed a stable partnership to get back in the game. Hardus Viljoen and Alviro Petersen provided Lions’ innings an impetus. Viljoen was dropped by Dravid at long-on when he was on one off Stuart Binny’s. The next ball was slapped over boundary for six to add insult to an injury of Binny. The duo stitched a partnership of 63 off 39 balls for the fourth wicket. Tambe then dismissed Viljoen bowled when the Lions all-rounder missed the ball trying to slog the leg-spinner.
In the next over, Tambe had Jean Symes off a googly that was chipped straight to covers. Two balls later a conventional leg-spinner had Sohail Tanvir in trouble as he looked to sweep the ball from the stumps. The Lions innings was in a state of disarray.
Petersen and Thami Tsolekile tried to their best to keep up with the required rate by keeping Lions in the run-chase hitting occasional boundaries. Tambe bamboozled Petersen with a wrong-un and had the Lions captain playing across the line. He top-scored with 40 off 28 deliveries.
The regular fall of wickets ensured that Lions had to battle an exponential required run-rate. They went through the motions and Royals won their tenth consecutive game this year at Jaipur — thus preserving their citadel.
Earlier Brad Hodge scored 46 off 23 deliveries that propelled Royals to 183 for five in their 20 overs. Binny (38 from 20 balls), Watson (33 from 24 balls) and Dravid (31 off 30 balls) gave Royals’ innings a solid platform. Royals now are on eight points and look good to qualify to the next stage of the competition with two games left.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)