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Rajasthan make short work of Bangalore

By Rediff cricket
Last updated on: May 07, 2009 19:28 IST
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An unbeaten 38-ball 52 by Naman Ojha (3x4, 3x6) enabled Rajasthan Royals thrash Bangalore Royal Challengers by seven wickets in their Indian Premier League match at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Thursday

Chasing a modest 106 to win, the defending champions romped home with five overs to spare and moved up to the top of the table with 11 points.

This was Rajasthan's fifth win in nine matches and Bangalore's fifth defeat in as many games, this their first after three straight wins.

It was also the first defeat in three matches for Anil Kumble the captain.

Earlier, accurate bowling, particularly by Amit Singh (4 for 19) and Ravindra Jadeja (three for 15), coupled with awful batting saw Rajasthan restrict Bangalore to a paltry 105.

None of the Bangalore batsmen could put up a decent score; in fact, they were fortunate to get past the 100-run mark.

In the first face-off between the teams -- in what was the tournament's second match -- Bangalore, batting first, put up just 133, but did well to dismiss Rajasthan for a paltry 58, the lowest score in the tournament.

On Thursday, there was no encore.

Bangalore innings

Shane Warne never ceases to spring surprises, and the fact that he opted to take the field -- when most captains have done the opposite -- was yet another calculated decision.

However, one of his decisions did come in as a surprise. Shane Harwood, who was impressive in the matches he featured in, was rested, and in came Morne Morkel, the same guy who was part of the team last year but did not even join the team.

The Bangalore batsmen did vindicate Warne's decision though -- the Powerplay period producing just 29.

Wasim Jaffer (8/9) got a reprieve off the 10th ball (bowled by Morkel). A poor piece of judgment by Singh at the fine-leg boundary witnessed what could have been a simple catch for the fielding side, but gave the batting side their first boundary.

Singh atoned for his mistake almost immediately, having Jaffer caught at short cover.

With just 16 coming off the first four overs, Jacques Kallis (10/14) attempted to cut loose when the first bowling change was made.

The South African hit Munaf Patel's first ball over the square leg boundary for the maximum. However, the bowler had the last word, having the batsman caught by Niraj Patel at deep backward square leg.

Warne introduced part-timer Lee Carseldine as the second change bowler and the latter expressed his gratitude by having the experienced Rahul Dravid (0/2) caught behind with his fifth ball.

Bangalore were reduced to 29 for three after six. Uthappa (17/20) tried to accelerate, hitting Munaf for successive boundaries, the first past the bowler and the second over midwicket.

But the introduction of Jadeja into the attack hastened his departure, caught plumb in front off the first ball, to be precise.

Rajasthan might have had a fifth wicket before the break had Naman Ojha held on to the thick inside edge of Virat Kohli (from Warne)

Nonetheless, Bangalore went into the strategic time out tottering at 49 for four (@ less than five an over in a T20 game).

The resumption brought no respite though.

Mark Boucher (6/8) was cleaned up by Jadeja, getting a bottom edge while trying to cut a ball that was not meant to be.

And in his final over, Jadeja accounted for Kohli (15/22), Morkel holding onto a sharp chance at short third man.

With just five overs left, the Bangalore total read 76 with six of their batsmen back in the pavilion.

Singh cleaned up Roelef van der Merwe (15/16) with a clever change of pace and Praveen Kumar (7/4) was run-out in a bizarre manner, hitting straight back to the bowler and setting out for a run (apologies, we can't explain the logic behind it) -- to complicate Bangalore's problems further.

R Vinay Kumar (12/13) smashed a Warne delivery over the long-on boundary for maximum and that shot enabled Bangalore pass the 100-run mark.

However, Singh returned to take two wickets in the final over to end the Bangalore innings.

Rajasthan innings

With the asking rate well under control, Rajasthan made a controlled start, taking two runs apiece in the first two overs.

However, Graeme Smith (20/22) did cut loose in the third, bowled by Praveen Kumar, hitting successive boundaries, the first over cover and the second over deep square leg.

The South African captain took another couple of boundaries off Dillion du Preez -- the first bowling change -- the first a superb front-foot drive to mid-off and the second a drive towards mid-on.

Smith, who had scored just 65 runs in six innings before blasting 77 off 44 balls against Punjab, was looking good again but he eventually paid the price for extravagance, completely missing a straighter one from Kallis and getting his stumps shattered.

Carseldine (9/8) started with a fine glance that went to the fine-leg boundary but was soon back in the pavilion following an awful mix-up.

If Praveen Kumar's dismissal was bizarre during the Bangalore innings, Carseldine's was equally bizarre, if not more.

The Australian set off for a single, having pushed a Kumble delivery to mid-off, but Ojha didn't respond. The result: both batsmen were stranded at the same end even as Kohli threw the ball and Boucher got the bails off.

Ojha started walking back, but the third umpire decided it was Carseldine who had to leave.

Ojha vented his frustration by hitting Van der Merwe for a huge six over the long-off boundary as Rajasthan went into the strategic time-out at 62 for two, needing 44 more to complete an expected win.

Yusuf Pathan, who did not get a chance with the ball, played a decent cameo with the bat soon after resumption.

A cover drive off Kallis and a pull towards the long-leg boundary being the only two boundaries in his 19-ball 22.

He fell soon after hitting the second of those shots, a shorter one from du Preez, straight to Jaffer at long leg.

However, Praveen Kumar's next over cost Bangalore 16 and that was it.

Ojha took 14 of those, off the last three balls, first a boundary to deep midwicket followed by successive maximums to complete his second successive half century and also lead Rajasthan home.

In any case, after the Bangalore innings, the eventual result was only a foregone conclusion.

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