Rajasthan: Shane Watson scored a brilliant unbeaten 53-ball 98 as Rajasthan Royals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets with 13 balls to go at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Saturday. This was Rajasthan's fifth win in eight matches, while Hyderabad suffered their fourth defeat in nine matches.
In pursuit of 145, Rajasthan lost Ajinkya Rahane to Dale Steyn in the third over for one. Watson then joined Rahul Dravid and both batted with a lot of caution adding 74 runs off 62 balls. After Thisara Perera removed Dravid for 36, Watson took centrestage and launched into an all-out attack. His dominance can be gauged from the fact that in a 65-run partnership for the third wicket Stuart Binny scored just nine runs. The Aussie hit 13 boundaries and four sixes.
Earlier after electing to bat, Hyderabad were given a hard time by Australian pace bowler James Faulkner all through their innings. However, it was offspinner Ajit Chandila who opened the floodgates with the wicket of Akshath Reddy for two. Faulkner then got in on the act and removed Kumar Sangakkara (4), the in-form Shikhar Dhawan (0) and Karan Sharma (6) in the blink of an eye.
Rajasthan chased down 145 in 17.5 overs with six wickets in hand to register their fifth victory this season.
Sri Lankan allrounder Perera, who has played a few good hands this season, then became Chandila's second victim, and when the West Indian allrounder Kevon Cooper despatched Hanuma Vihari for four to make it 29 for 6, things looked really desperate for the visitors. Nobody had any idea at that time that how Hyderabad were going to save their face. They eventually did though, and the credit goes to Darren Sammy.
The West Indies captain and Amit Mishra, who has proved time and again that he is no mug with the bat, got into the repair work and added 58 off 48 balls to give some sort of respectability to Hyderabad's innings. Mishra's 21 came to an end when Faulkner had him caught by Cooper.
However, Sammy kept playing in his easygoing way and by the time he became Faulkner's fifth victim he had done his job with a 60 off 41 balls hitting eight fours and one six. Steyn hit a few big hits towards the end to take his team to a respectable total of 144 for 9. Faulkner finished with 5 for 20, while Chandila returned with 2 for 13.