punjab beat rajasthan by 41 runs
Marsh century conquers Rajasthan
May 28, 2008
20 overs Kings XI Punjab 221 for 3 (Marsh 115, Hopes 51, Yuvraj 49) beat Rajasthan Royals 180 for 7 (Niraj 57, Yusuf 39, Chawla 3-35)
Shaun Marsh ended Kings XI Punjab's campaign in the league stages on a high (file photo) © Getty Images
Rajasthan Royals may have ended the league stage on top, but it will be the Kings XI Punjab who head into the semi-finals full of confidence after triumphing by 41 runs in a dead-rubber top-of-the-table clash in Mohali.
Shane Warne rested himself for the game, and there was not much the Rajasthan Royals' captain-cum-coach could do watching from the dugout as Punjab's top order knocked them out of the contest. Shaun Marsh led the way for Punjab with a 69-ball 115 and James Hopes' 51 provided him support in a century stand before Yuvraj Singh finally found his rhythm with a blistering 49. Without Warne, Rajasthan looked insipid in the field, and a weakened attack without him and Sohail Tanvir, the tournament's best bowler, leaked away too many short and wide deliveries.
Marsh teed off from the word go. Shane Watson had taken over the captaincy, but Marsh started by spanking two wide deliveries off him for boundaries through the off side. The cut, pull and the lofted straight drive were seen aplenty as Marsh began his assault to go past Gautam Gambhir as the tournament's leading run-getter.
At the other end, Hopes got the occasional boundary while letting his partner take most of the strike, and he had to take some evasive action as Marsh blasted one off Watson that went right under his legs. The Powerplay overs fetched 51, but there was no respite for Rajasthan as Pankaj Singh was taken for 17 in the seventh: Marsh clobbering one over midwicket, before lacing the next through extra cover.
Marsh took a single off Dinesh Salunkhe's first ball to become the tournament's leading run-scorer, and a rank bad ball was blasted through midwicket to bring up his fifty. At 88 for 0 after ten overs, the Mohali crowd were set for a treat from their batsmen, and Hopes shifted gears as Punjab looked to build an imposing score. He got three boundaries off Siddharth Trivedi in the 11th over, and Yusuf Pathan's offspin was slog-swept into the stands en route to his fifty, which came 30 deliveries.
Next it was Marsh's turn; Yusuf was flat-batted over long-on for four before the Western Australain stepped down the track for to send one sailing over long-on. Yusuf got a breakthrough as Hopes holed on to deep midwicket but that was the brief lull before Yuvraj Singh came out storming and landed the knockout blow.
By then Marsh was marching towards his hundred, and he hit a six over Pankaj's head to move to 97, and a single later in the over - that costed 25 - brought up the sixth century of the IPL. The pressure was getting to Rajasthan, and Yuvraj cashed in: he swivelled around to pull one for six, before dispatching one through square leg.
Had Yuvraj had been on strike first-up for the next over from Trivedi, he would conceivably have repeated his six sixes off Stuart Broad in the World Twenty20. He did hit five sixes off six consecutive deliveries, before he was run-out off the last ball of the innings. Marsh had fallen earlier in the over, but Punjab were way past the par score of 180 initially suggested by Warne.
Chasing 222, Rajasthan surprisingly opened with Mohammad Kaif and Niraj Patel. Kaif didn't last too long, as did Younis Khan, but Niraj, who held his calm during the gripping run-chase that knocked out the Mumbai Indians, once again sparkled with a fluent fifty. He cracked four fours in a Sreesanth over: he worked the ball square on the off side as the bowler gave him width, and launched a slower ball down the ground. VRV Singh tried to test him with shorter deliveries, but Niraj managed to find the boundary. Punjab's bowlers had frittered away a winning position in their shock loss to the Kolkata Knight Riders, and today they were largely disciplined and were backed up by sharp fielding.
Though Niraj kept the score ticking, Rajasthan were struggling at 67 at the halfway mark. Piyush Chawla removed Niraj and Watson, but Rajasthan were given a glimmer of hopes as Yusuf Pathan and Kamran Akmal nonchalantly blasted sixes and scored 54 in three overs to bring it down to 90 off the final six.
Punjab had conceded 71 in five overs against Kolkata, and there were chances of a repeat. However, Chawla picked up his third, removing Akmal, and even the hard-hitting Yusuf, who's been a revelation in the tournament, couldn't rescue Rajasthan on a day when everything went terribly wrong.