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Marsh in majestic touch again

Shaun Marsh, fellow opener James Hopes and skipper Yuvraj Singh made the most of a depleted Rajasthan Royals attack and helped Kings XI Punjab set an imposing target of 222 in the last league match of the Indian Premier League.

It was carnage at the PCA Stadium with the trio hitting 14 sixes and 20 boundaries much to the delight of the home supporters.

Marsh, in stupendous form since making his debut in the fifth match for Kings XI, smashed 115 to become the highest run-getter at the end of the league. He reached 593 to overtake Gautam Gambhir’s 523 from 14 outings.

With skipper Shane Warne, opener Graeme Smith and the Indian Premier League’s highest wicket-taker Sohail Tanvir rested ahead of Friday’s semifinal against Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan looked far from the team that topped the league table.

Under the leadership of Shane Watson, the players looked out of sorts. Most players waited for instructions from Watson every time the left-right combination of Marsh and Hopes changed ends.

When the assault from the openers was well and truly on, the players missed Warne all the more.

Marsh, with four ‘man-of-the-match’ awards from nine appearances, enhanced his chances of adding one more award after hitting seven sixes and 11 boundaries.

He was out in the final over while trying for an eighth six. He received a standing ovation not only from the crowd but also from Warne.

Yuvraj finally ran into form with a 16-ball 49 and smashed three successive sixes of Siddharth Trivedi before being run-out off the last ball of the innings in his bid to reach his maiden half-century in the competition.

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