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Royals shown no mercy by Marsh

A sumptious century by Shaun Marsh had the Rajasthan Royals licked as he blasted the Punjab Kings XI to 221 for three in their Indian Premier League match in Mohali on Wednesday.

Aussie Marsh finished with a scintillating 115 off 69 balls as he claimed the orange cap for the leading run-scorer, cruising past an astonishing 500 runs in the competition with a 27-ball half-century and a century off 58 deliveries.

He and compatriot James Hopes put on 133 in 13.4 overs for the first wicket, but that proved to be merely the entree' as Marsh continued to reduce the blown-away Rajasthan bowlers to rubble then sand.

Rajasthan bowled too short on a pitch that did not provide the sort of bounce to justify it and the visitors, who rested star bowlers Sohail Tanveer and Shane Warne, were down and out almost from the outset as Marsh and Hopes scored at a shade under 10-an-over from the start.

Hopes eventually fell for a splendid 51 off 34 balls when he swept off-spinner Yusuf Pathan straight down deep midwicket's throat.

Marsh rampaged on, however, hitting 11 fours and seven sixes and his wagon-wheel was like a panorama of the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. With just four balls left in the innings, Marsh eventually mis-hit a leg-side flick off Shane Watson and was caught at midwicket.

Yuvraj Singh came in once Hopes was dismissed, a terrifying prospect for the Royals, and the left-hander went smoothly to 18 off nine balls before he bombarded Rajasthan with five sixes off his next six deliveries. The last four overs of the innings were particularly fertile for Punjab as they lashed 70 runs off the devastated bowlers.

The Indian star's casual but brutal elegance brought him 49 off 16 balls before he was run out off the last ball of the innings.

The Rajasthan bowling figures made tragic reading, with leg-spinner Dinesh Salunkhe the most successful as he only conceded 23 runs off his three overs. The inexperienced youngster was the runner-up in a cricket reality show and is understudying the legendary Warne at the Royals.

Watson and Pathan were the wicket-takers, but had umkempt figures, conceding 40 runs in four overs and 24 in two respectively.

Poor Pankaj Singh conceded 48 runs in his three overs.

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