Jaipur: Michael Lumb cracked 83 from just 43 balls to power Rajasthan Royals to an emphatic nine-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in their first game on their home ground at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Wednesday. Rajasthan jumped to third place in the standings with the victory, making their position stronger for a foray into the semi-finals.
Handed an easy chase after Kings XI Punjab threw away a promising start to finish on a modest 153-6, the Royals were off to a flier with Lumb ripping apart the Punjab bowlers. The left-hander was particularly harsh on Juan Theron, whose opening over went for 20 runs.
Lumb's wicket didn't slow the Royals down, with the hosts cruising to victory with five overs to spare. Naman Ojha remained unbeaten on 44 while Yusuf Pathan was 21 not out. Ravi Bopara was the only successful bowler for Punjab who picked up Lumb's wicket.
With the game finishing five overs early, Punjab didn't have to worry about the over rate but S Sreesanth may be rapped by the IPL with the bowler losing his cool while bowling to Michael Lumb. After conceding a no-ball and the free-hit going for a boundary, Sreesanth lost his cool and clapped his hands sarcastically at the umpire.
Earlier, Punjab were cruising along thanks to Mahela Jayawardene and Yuvraj Singh who took the visitors to a healthy 100-2 inside 11 overs, but their sudden dismissals in the space of one run dented their progress. Jayawardene followed up his century with a stylish 44 after Punjab opted to bat, but none of their batsmen carried on to take them to a bigger total.
Manvinder Bisla and Jayawardene gave Punjab a quickfire start and despite the quick wickets of Bisla and captain Kumar Sangakkara, Punjab kept attacking the Rajasthan bowlers, looking set for a fighting total. Yuvraj looked inspiring as he took Shane Warne for two consecutive sixes but his confidence gave way to complacency as he was bowled by Aditya Dole in the next over for a rapid 28.
Ravi Bopara's unsuccessful run in the middle order continued with the Englishman run out for 11 as Punjab slipped further as Rajasthan's slow bowlers applied the brakes admirably. Yusuf Pathan didn't purchase a wicket but gave away just 26 runs from his four overs while Trivedi was the pick of the bowlers with 1-22. Aditya Dole picked up two wickets.