Preity Zinta certainly has a big heart. She had every reason to look sullen when Rajasthan Royals were giving the Kings XI Punjab the thrashing. Yet, she stood on the sidelines, flashing her dimpled smile and the team’s flag at whatever little she could find to cheer about.
Nonetheless, the unflinching support didn’t count for much as Royals finally solved the one problem they faced – the lack of firepower at the top – and simply batted the Kings XI out of the game.
Perhaps tired of hearing Shane Warne bemoan the lack of contribution from the top order, Graeme Smith (77) and Naman Ojha (68) decided it was time to put an end to the skipper’s anguish. The burly left-hander and the right-handed Ojha put together a record 135 for the first wicket, paving the way for Royals to post a daunting total of 211 – the highest of the tournament.
The Kings XI had an addition to their bowling resources, S Sreesanth, but he could do nothing to rein in the openers. They whacked the ball over the ropes or sizzled the turf. And when the duo was finally separated, leaving the Kings XI in tatters, the batsmen who followed were just too happy to pile on the misery.
For the Kings XI, it was always going to be an uphill task, but they succumbed even before they could start. Disaster struck in the first ball when opener Sunny Sohal guided the ball to the first slip, and thereafter they just couldn’t get back in the game.
One batsman after another came and went in a procession, from the dugout to the middle and back, leaving Yuvraj Singh helpless at the other end. The left-hander managed to hold his ground in the middle, but he, too, looked quite subdued and off colour as the team sunk to a 78-run defeat.