Posted by Gareth Parry Added on: May 08 2012
Rajasthan Royals 126 for 3 (Watson 90*) beat Pune Warriors 125 for 6 (Majumdar 30, Tait 3-13) by seven wickets
The Pune Warriors hosted the Rajasthan Royals in the 52nd match of the IPL 2012. The Pune side have struggled in recent times and are with out a win in their last six matches. Rajasthan have also struggled but came into this match on the back of a good win against the Kings XI Punjab.
Ganguly won the toss and chose to bat first. The Pune batsmen were unable to make the best use of the conditions as the Warriors limped to just 125 in their innings.
The tone for the innings was set in the power play as the Rajasthan bowlers put in an aggressive and professional display which had Pune's fragile batting line up under enormous pressure. Shaun Tait was especially good with his first two overs, bowled in the power play, going for only 8 runs and picking up the wicket of Ganguly.
The Rajasthan bowlers dominated proceedings with the Warriors batsmen struggling to time the ball off the surface. The Rajasthan fielders backed up their bowling attack with a proficient display in the field. Whilst they didn't show the moments of brilliance in the field that other sides have they constantly put pressure on the Pune batsmen with some of the batting sides running looking fraught with danger.
The only brief moment of resistance was Majumdar who top scored with 30 from just 20 balls. This included two 6's off the bowling of Chavan as the Pune man looked to get his side back into the game. However he was bowled an over later by Botha who beat him with a good yorker.
Shaun Tait returned to remove Uthappa with the batsman forced to chase a wide delivery and edging behind. Mathews and Smith were the men left for Pune but were unable to accelerate the scoring with the Rajasthan bowling and fielding remaining consistently good.
The Rajasthan bowlers improved as the innings progresses which was extremely impressive considering how strongly they started. A measure of how good they were is that not even Steve Smith could finish the innings with the Warriors taking only 12 runs from the final two overs.
The last over went for only 3 of those 12 runs and was bowled by the Royals stand out performer with the ball, Shaun Tait. His return of 4-013-3, taking him to a total of five wickets in the two matches he has played, posed the question as to why he wasn't included sooner. Regardless of the answer to that the Royals put in an excellent fielding display and were confident of chasing the runs at the halfway stage.
The Rajasthan Royals made easy work of the chase reaching the total with 3.4 overs to spare. They were taken there by an imperious display from Shane Watson.
The Rajasthan opening pair failed in this innings which has been a rare occurrence in the IPL 2012. Rahane cut the ball to point with Steve Smith taking a tremendous catch diving to his right. This wicket didn't bring any relief for the Pune side as the next man in was Watson. He hit two 6's and a 4 off the third over of the innings to signal his intent of finishing the game quickly.
The Royals lost two wickets along the way but both Dravid and Menaria, the men to fall, were only playing a supporting role. Watson was in destructive mood and he finished with 90 runs out of the Royals total of 126. A mark of the gulf between the two batting displays was the fact that Rajasthan had scored more boundaries and an equal number of 6's by the end of the power play than Pune scored in their whole innings.
This match was won by the Royals Australian connection with Tait and Watson putting in performances that suggest if they could help lead Rajasthan into the play off and perhaps even further.