Shaun Marsh came to the party at the right time to lead the Kings XI Punjab to their third win in a row after Adam Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty had wreaked havoc on the Rajasthan Royals bowlers at the PCA Stadium on Thursday. KXIP finished on 195 for 7, the highest total of IPL-4. And the victory margin of 49 proved how wrong Shane Warne was in putting KXIP in after winning the toss on a batsman-friendly pitch.
The pressure of chasing an asking rate of 9.7 per over proved too much for the Royals. Half the battle was already lost when Swapnil Asnodkar and Rahul Dravid trotted in for the chase.
KXIP knew the Royals would have to take the risk of going after the bowling from the start and stuck to a good line and length. Ryan Harris struck in the second over cleaning up Dravid for eight, and from then on, strikes at regular intervals meant the Royals were never in the hunt.Asnodkar went for nine, bowled by Praveen Kumar, as the Royals were forced on the back-foot. After that, it was a matter of biding time as the Royals' innings crawled to 47 for three in seven overs. Shane Watson tried to force the pace with a 16-ball 24 but perished to Piyush Chawla.
Effort in vain
Stuart Binny and Ashok Menaria played cameos of 30 and 34 respectively, but, in the end, it proved too much as the Royals managed just 147 for seven.
The Royals gave lifelines to Gilchrist and Valthaty in the first two overs itself, with the bowlers overstepping on both occasions. Valthaty exploded in the third over, taking 25 runs off Siddharth Trivedi as KXIP blasted their way to the fastest fifty in IPL history. They took just 17 balls for 52 runs.
Gilchrist was out to Watson, caught at mid-on by Shaun Tait for 28, but Valthaty continued the attack. In between, Tait, who was the best Royals' bowler on display, used the short ball to keep Valthaty quiet for an over. The Royals were also guilty of dropping Valthaty twice off consecutive balls of Binny in the ninth over. Valthaty finally holed out to Tait off Warne.