A breeze for Rajasthan Royals

Shane Watson and Mohd. Kaif celebrate after heralding Rajasthan Royals' facile victory.-PTI

Nothing went right for Royal Challengers and the Bangalore team’s skipper admitted, “With just 135, we had our backs to the wall.” K. C. Vijaya Kumar reports.

The quick recovery of Anil Kumble from a groin strain came as a good news to Rahul Dravid at the start of the day. But thereafter, nothing went right for the Bangalore Royal Challengers skipper.

The DLF Indian Premier League match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was over as a contest the moment Royal Challengers was restricted by Rajasthan Royals for 135 for eight in 20 overs. “With just 135, we had our backs to the wall,” admitted Dra vid.

Rajasthan Royals, riding high on a 104-run third wicket partnership between Graeme Smith (49) and Man of the Match Shane Watson (61 n.o., 41b, 8x4, 2x6), registered a facile seven-wicket victory in 17.1 overs. Royal Challengers did strike in the opening over of the Rajasthan Royals’ chase as Praveen Kumar scalped Mahesh Rawat.

However, Yusuf Pathan blitzed a 12-ball 21 to give Rajasthan Royals the momentum. Opener Graeme Smith meanwhile kept the scoreboard ticking with his singles and the odd swat past mid-wicket. His pull off Jacques Kallis was the pick. Giving Smith company was all-rounder Shane Watson, who had earlier bagged two wickets in the Royal Challengers’ innings.

Earlier, Dravid hooked his first delivery from Watson straight down fine-leg’s throat. Chanderpaul waltzed down to Watson and miscued his shot, while Kallis, after crashing one past covers, pulled Munaf straight to backward square-leg. And amidst the gloom, Ross Taylor (44, 20b, 6x4, 3x6) played with panache and also had the last laugh in a testing over from Sohail Tanvir, digging out a yorker, evading a bouncer and picking up three fours to keep his team’s hopes burning.

After Taylor fell to Munaf and Mark Boucher was snared by Shane Warne, Praveen Kumar (34) and Zaheer Khan kept the scoreboard ticking. However, in the end it proved too little.

THE SCORES

Bangalore Royal Challengers v Rajasthan Royals, Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, April 26, 2008.

Result: