Defeated captain Shane Warne was left to lament a poor display in the field after the Rajasthan Royals slumped to a 48-run defeat at the hands of the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Thursday.
Having won the toss and opted to bowl first, Warne would’ve anticipated a sound performance from his team at least. Instead ill-discipline from his seamers and a string of dropped catches afforded the hosts a hefty score of 195 for seven – the highest score of the 2011 Indian Premier League thus far.
Adam Gilchrist, who eventually fell for 28, was bowled off a no-ball by Siddharth Trivedi for four in the first over of the day shortly before Shaun Tait castled the in-form Paul Valthaty, on one at the time, off another no-ball. Valthaty was then grassed twice – once by Shane Watson on 37, once by Swapnil Asnodkar on 41 – en route to a brisk 46.
With Trivedi’s predictable approach and Warne’s leg-spin proving expensive, Shaun Tait (three for 22) and Shane Watson (two for 24) managed to halt the Kings XI Punjab’s charge to a 220-plus score. Shaun Marsh’s 71 and Dinesh Karthik’s late-innings cameo, meanwhile, ensured that Gilchrist’s lone lifeline and Valthaty’s three let-offs didn’t go to waste.
Rajasthan’s reply was spirited but vain, with a slew of unconverted starts dealing the former champions their third loss of the tournament.
Ashok Menaria’s 34 and Stuart Binny’s 30 was as good as it got for the Royals, while Abhishek Raut’s 25 and Shane Watson’s 24 further typified the visitors’ inability to graduate good starts to meaningful knocks.
“We didn’t get off to an ideal start,” rued Warne.
“Those two no-balls could have been two wickets. After that we lost our way. Trying to stay calm when the no-balls happened was not easy. Bowling no-balls is something you can’t do in Twenty20 cricket. We were totally outplayed. We didn’t do a lot of the basic stuff well.”
Gilchrist, whose side lost their first match of the 2011 IPL but have since bounced back to three consecutive victories, basked in victory and hailed the impact of Australian Marsh and Indian Valthaty on Thursday’s result.
The left-handed Marsh blazed half a dozen fours and a trio of sixes across his blitzkrieg 42-ball stay at the crease. The right-handed Valthaty, who earlier in the month struck the third fastest century in the history of the IPL, continued his rich run of form with four boundaries and three sixes before falling four runs short of a half-ton.
“That’s three in a row after a poor start, so good on us. Paul backed himself and Shaun was brilliant,” enthused the triumphant captain.
Man of the Match Marsh’s swashbuckling innings included three sixes off fellow Australian Shane Warne in the 14th over of the match.
“That’s the first time I have hit a few sixes off Warne, which is great. He usually he gets me out pretty early, so I’m having a lot of fun at the moment,” concluded Marsh. Cricket365