Nervous Royals edge to tense 6 wicket victory
Ross Taylor steered the Rajasthan Royals to the top of the IPL group standings thanks to a 6 wicket victory over the Pune Warriors at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
On a tense afternoon in Jaipur, Taylor (47) smashed 4 four and 2 sixes to help the Royals overcome the Warriors total of 143-7 to hand the visitors their 6th straight defeat.
With 19 runs needed off the final two overs Taylor saw the home side to victory with a composed finish which saw him dispatch Alfonso Thomas for a massive six which sailed 101 metres over the midwicket boundary at the start of the penultimate over.
With the tension mounting Ajinkya Rahane (15) sealed victory in the final over to spark wild celebrations in the Royals dug out and out in the middle between Rahane and Taylor.
Having struggled with the bat the Warriors made amends by pressuring the Royals throughout their run chase; the home side were made to work for every single run on a slow turning wicket.
Shane Watson and Rahul Dravid got the home side off to a positive start during an opening stand of 29 before Watson (12) edged a delivery from Alfonso Thomas through to wicket keeper Robin Uthappa at the start of the 5th over.
Dravid (18) and Johan Botha (12) quickly followed as the Royals run chase almost came to a halt as the boundaries started to dry up, leaving the home side needing another 83 runs from the final 9 overs of the game.
With the pressure mounting Ashok Menaria dispatched Murali Kartik and Nathan McCullum for two big sixes to give the Royals some much needed momentum but with the out come of the match still in the balance the Warriors struck back.
Having been disrupted by the batting time out at the end of the 14th over Menaria’s cameo of 29 was ended by Rahul Sharma who forced the batman to miss time another big shot down the leg side which sailed into the hands of Alfonse Thomas at long on.
Despite the break through the Warriors were unable to silence Ross Taylor who smashed Kartik for 16 runs in the 16th over to leave the Royals needing 35 more runs from the last 4 overs.
With the pressure mounting McCullum put down a tricky catch on the deep square leg boundary to reprieve Taylor as the game reached an exciting finish.
Having put the visitors into bat the Royals fought back to restrict the Warriors to a total of 143-7 after Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa had got the visitors off to a good start.
The Warriors lost the momentum after the pair’s dismissal as the home side fought their way back into the game to leave them with a run chase of 144.
Despite losing Jessie Ryder (18) in the 2nd over the Warriors got off to a good start thanks to Pandey and Uthappa who shared a 2nd wicket stand of 46 to put the visitors in control.
Having suffered a number of batting collapse’s during their five game losing streak the Warriors played with more composure as Pandey and Uthappa built a vital partnership for the visitors.
The Warriors rode their luck though, with Uthappa fortunate to escape three LBW shouts in the 6th over much to the displeasure of Royals skipper Shane Warne who conceded three boundaries in the over.
With the partnership building Warne finally got his man when Uthappa (35) tried to reverse sweep the Aussie in the 8th over only to top edge a catch to wicket keeper Dishant Harendra Yagnik.
Although the Warriors had got off to a good start their luck deserted them in the 12th over when Juvraj Singh (7) and Pandey (30) were both dismissed by Siddharth Trivedi.
The skipper was the first to go after he was cruelly run out by Trivedi at the start of the over after the bowler managed to divert a full drive from Pandey onto the stumps at the non strikers to run our Juvraj who was short of his crease.
Pandey quickly followed five deliveries later after he picked out Ross Taylor on the deep midwicket boundary to leave the Warriors 93-4.
Harpreet Singh (13) and Mithun Manhas (24) tried to get the innings going again with a 5th wicket partnership of 28 but the loss of Juvraj and Pandey really slowed the visitors down as stumbled to a total of only 143-7.