Felix Austin | cricket20
South African all rounder Johan Botha scored an impressive half century to help the Rajasthan Royals claim an 8 wicket victory over the Deccan Chargers to put their winter of legal fights with the BCCI firmly behind them.
Having taken two key catches in the Chargers innings Botha stared with the bat scoring 67 runs from just 47 delivers to help the Royals to victory.
Faced with a run chase of only 138 the Royals got off to a great star thanks to Amit Paunikar who smashed Pragyan Ojha for consecutive boundaries from the first two deliveries of the innings.
Paunikar followed this up with another two boundaries, this time off the bowling of South Africa Dale Steyn to help the Royals reach 19-0 after just 2 overs.
Having conceded a barrage of runs inside the first two overs the Chargers, defending a relatively low total after an inept performance with the bat could have quite easily wilted under the pressure.
But Chargers skipper Kumar Sangakkara immediately reacted by bringing Ishant Sharma and Daniel Christian into the attack to slow down Paunikar and his partner Rahul Dravid.
The change in bowlers brought relief to the Chargers as Sharma and Christian conceded just 10 runs from the next three overs to put the pressure on the Royals.
With the run rate dropping Steyn was brought back into the attack and he immediately made the break through to dismiss Paunikar (20) who chased a short delivery which was caught by Sangakkara behind the stumps to leave the Royals 31-1.
Despite the lose of Paunikar, Dravid and Johan Botha slowly broke the shackles to build a 2nd wicket partnership of 52 which put the visitors firmly in control.
Although Steyn hit back to bowl Dravid (28) in the 13th over the Royals remained on course for victory with 55 runs needed from 43 deliveries.
With the pressure mounting Botha and new partner Ross Taylor () remained focused to steer the Royals to a well deserved victory with 7 balls to spare.
Having been put into bat the Chargers got off to a great start thanks to openers Shikhar Dhawan and Ishank Jaggi who enjoyed a rapid opening stand of 41 which came from just 29 deliveries.
Dhawan lead the way with smashing Amit Singh for a massive six and a boundary from consecutive deliveries in the 5th before the bowler cleverly struck back with a slower delivery which the 25 year old dragged to Abhishek Raut at deep midwicket.
The Chargers positive start was quickly derailed by some excellent bowling from Siddharth Trivedi who picked up the wickets of Kumar Sangakkara (0) and Bharat Chipli (6) in the space of 15 deliveries to leave the home side 53-3.
With the top order removed the Royals increased the pressure thanks to inspirational skipper Shane Warne who showed no signs of aging thanks to another superb spell of bowling.
The veteran spinner used all of his international experience to pick up the wickets of Jaggi (25) and JP Duminy (25) to leave the Chargers 77-5 with only 6 overs remaining.
Opening batsman Jaggi was the first to go when he picked out Johan Botha on the long on boundary in the 11th over before Duminy, frustrated by the lack of runs picked out Botha after he attempted to smash Warne out of the ground.
With the middle order in free fall Christian and Ravi Teja kept the Royals at bay with a vital 6th wicket partnership of 37 before Christian (25) was caught by Raut out on the deep midwicket boundary to give the impressive Trivedi his third wicket of the day.
Ravi Teja (28) and Dale Steyn (7) quickly follow as the Chargers limped to a total of just 137-8 thanks in no small part to the contribution of Ravi Teja and Christian.