Michael Lumb was a surprise signing by Rajasthan Royals [ Images ] for IPL 3. But the Hampshire batsman is showing he deserves a place among the elite, after all.
A few days ago, against Chennai Super Kings [ Images ], he hit a futile 37 off 26 balls. On Wednesday, he was again among the runs, but this time with authority and in a winning cause.
The 30-year-old South African-born Englishman displayed his batting prowess to the fullest, hitting a majestic 83 that guided Rajasthan to a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in Jaipur [ Images ].
It was attack from the word go as Lumb clobbered six boundaries in the first three overs of the innings. When he was out, his 43-ball knock was studded with 16 boundaries and two sixes.
Rajasthan chased down a modest target of 154 in 15 overs and boosted their chances of making it to the semi-finals as they jumped to third in the standings.
For Kings XI Punjab [ Images ], who are turning out to be the whipping boys of the tournament, it was their eighth loss in 10 matches and they stay rooted at the bottom of the points table.
Lumb came into the tournament on the back of a splendid batting performance in the domestic Twenty20 [ Images ] tournament in England [ Images ] last season, during which he scored 442 runs from 11 games, which included a blazing 124 not out from a mere 69 balls against Essex.
And that vintage form was evident in Jaipur again as all the Punjab bowlers were punished by him.
Juan Theron suffered the most, hit for three fours and a six, as Rajasthan Royals raced past 50 in the fourth over.
The left-hander also raced to his half-century in a mere 28 deliveries.
He then took Irfan Pathan [ Images ] to the cleaners, slamming him for boundaries in his first over.
The opener missed out on a well-deserved century when he was caught on the square leg boundary off medium pacer Ravi Bopara [ Images ].
But, by then, the match was firmly sealed in Rajasthan's favour.