An inspired show on the field helped Rajasthan Royals trump defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders by 19 runs at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Monday.
A brilliant display by veteran Brad Hodge late in their innings, and a wonderful bowling performance lifted the Royals to a second straight win.
Chasing 145, unheralded Rahul Shukla rocked the KKR innings with a double strike in his first over. First, he got rid of Manvinder Bisla, who made room to crack the ball through point but missed it completely and saw his stumps rattled. Then came the big one and the 22-year-old from Jharkhand got rid of Jacques Kallis. He bowled one that held its line to induce an outside edge that was gobbled up safely by wicketkeeper Dinesh Yagnik.
The defending champions were pegged back further by an inspired spell from Siddharth Trivedi who returned figures of 3/23 including the crucial wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary. Kevon Cooper and Shaun Tait chipped in as KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
KKR's slim chances of victory were put paid to in the second last over when Eoin Morgan fell for a well-made 38-ball 51.
Earlier, Hodge's unbeaten heroics guided the Royals to a competitive total of 144/6 in their 20 overs.
Australian Shane Watson, a former MVP, had a sedate start to the tournament. After missing the first match due to injury, he failed to make an impression here and fell for 5 to fellow Aussie Brett Lee.
Rahul Dravid, who overcame injury worries, played cautiously before he was bowled through the gate by the military medium of Rajat Bhatia. Stuart Binny, too, failed to follow up on his fine outing in the opener against the Daredevils and fell quickly. At the other end, opener Ajinkya Rahane had moved along to 36 with three boundaries and six before he was bamboozled by mystery spinner Sunil Narine. The Trinidadian then outfoxed compatriot Kevon Cooper to put the hosts in a spot of bother.
Hodge, however, stood firm and flayed the bowling around the park to help the Royals post a defendable target.