Durban: Rajasthan Royals rode on Graeme Smith and Naman Ojha’s blazing fifties and debutant pacer Amit Singh’s sensational bowling to trounce Kings XI Punjab by a massive 78 runs and register one of the biggest wins in the Indian Premier League here on Tuesday.
Put into bat, Smith (77) and Ojha’s (68) scintillating batting helped Rajasthan post the tournament’s highest total - 211 for four - before restricting Punjab to 133 for eight.
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Smith and Ojha shared a 135-run stand for the opening wicket, which is so far the biggest partnership of the event.
Chasing the mammoth total, Punjab never looked in hunt and lost half their side with just 39 runs on board by the eighth over.
Skipper Yuvraj Singh (48) stood tall among the ruins and was the only Punjab batsman to put up some resistance in a contest which was unexpectedly lop-sided. Yuvraj’s knock comprised three fours and an equal number of sixes.
Punjab’s demolition was initiated by Amit Sigh who struck with the first and the last ball of his opening over itself to leave Punjab 2/2.
The 27-year-old ended the game with dream figures of 3/9 in four overs.
Amit first induced an edge from Sunny Sohal (0), whose misjudged shot landed safely with Shane Warne at the slips.
Karan Goel (1) became his next victim while trying to clear the deep square leg. The ball soared in the air for while before Shane Harwood caught hold of it.
Later in the match, Amit also picked up Yuvraj’s wicket when the Punjab skipper mis-hit a short delivery to Harwood at square leg.
Within just three overs of Karan and Sunny’s dismissal, Punjab were dealt a massive blow when Simon Katich was castled by Siddharth Trivedi off the last ball of his opening over.
Katich (10) attempted to smash a yorker but only managed an inside edge that uprooted his off-stump and left Punjab reeling at 25 for three in the fourth over.
Kumar Sangakkara (10) didn’t last long either stumped by Ojha off a Yusuf Pathan delivery. Mahela Jayawardene (9) folowed him to the dug-out, departing after hitting a six in the eighth over.
Jayawardene was dismissed by Harwood after the Sri Lankan cut a short delivery only to be caught by Trivedi at third man.
The rest of the Punjab line-up failed to put up a fight as Punjab succumbed to the massive loss.
Earlier in the match, Rajasthan were off to their best start of the event making 92 runs in their 10 overs before the strategy break.
Playing only his second IPL match, Ojha was sent in to open the innings with Smith and the 25-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman justified the move with a 51-ball knock.
Smith, out of sorts so far in the event, was cautious to start with but soon cut loose to send Punjab bowlers on a leather hunt.
The South African’s innings came off just 44 balls and was studded with 12 boundaries and a six. He was dismissed in the 15th over while trying to loft a Ramesh Powar delivery over long on, only to be caught by Piyush Chawla.
But before that, Smith and Powar had laid the foundation for a big total for Rajasthan.
Ojha, who was dismissed for a duck in his first match, gave a perfect start to Rajasthan’s innings, hitting Powar for two massive sixes and a four in the very first over.
Ojha struck five boundaries and an equal number of sixes during his knock.
Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh tried seven bowlers in a bid to stop the run flow but none could do the trick for him.
Punjab and the tournament’s most successful bowler Yusuf Abdulla conceded 44 runs without picking up a wicket in the three overs that he bowled.
S Sreesanth, playing his first IPL game after recovering from a back injury, was not as expensive to start with but was taken to task in his fourth and final over, which left him with figures of 0/44.
Powar’s only wicket of Smith proved way too costly as he ended up giving away 33 runs in his three.