Kochi’s three-match winning streak came crashing to a halt when then they lost by eight wickets to a Shane Warne-inspired Rajasthan outfit.
Mahela Jayawardene’s men were handed two hidings as they began life in the IPL, but three wins on the trot saw the men in orange find themselves climbing the table, but on Sunday night it all came crashing down.
Having lost the toss and been sent into bat, it was VVS Laxman who joined Jayawardene at the top of the order, with Brendon McCullum ruled out through injury. For all their experience, it was a moment of foolishness that had Kochi in trouble early.
Throughout his career, Laxman has developed a reputation for being a below-par runner, so just what the pair were thinking when they tried to sneak a quick single to point one can’t be sure. Found well short of his ground, Laxman was the first to depart, but he was soon followed by the Sri Lankan who was bowled around his legs by Johan Botha.
With the openers taken care of, Warne came to the fore, first dismissing the dangerous Brad Hodge before taking care of Ravindra Jadeja and Parthiv Patel who had threatened to put up a fight with a partnership of 48.
Warne may look rejuvenated but he used all of his old tricks as he finished with figures of three for 16 in his four overs. Siddharth Trivedi chipped in with three wickets of his own to ensure that Kochi could only limp to 109 all out.
One felt that if the Royals got off to a solid start there would be no coming back for Kochi and that proved the case, with the calm heads of Shane Watson and Rahul Dravid combining in a partnership of 70 to all but secure the victory.
Both men fell in the forties and with victory in site and while that will be of disappointment, their job was done and the Royals moved to second in the IPL standings. Cricket365