Watson, Samson carry Rajasthan over the line

Jaipur, April 29 (IANS) Shane Watson’s brilliant all-round effort and a brisk half-century by Sanju Samson helped Rajasthan Royals beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match here Monday. Rajasthan Royals thus maintan their unbeaten run at home at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

A combined batting effort from the Royal Challengers took them to 171 for six with Chris Gayle top scoring with 34 off 16 balls. Shane Watson was the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 22.

Rajasthan Royals found an unlikely hero in Samju Samson as the pocket dynamo smashed 63 off 41 balls while Watson scored 41 off 30 balls as Rajasthan chased down the visitors’ total in 19.5 overs.

Rajasthan are now tied on 12 points with Royal Challengers but have an inferior run-rate so they remain in third position.

Samson and Watson together strung a 68-run stand for the third wicket. One might have thought Watson, who has already scored a century and an unbeaten 98, to be the aggressor but it was diminutive man from Kerala who took the attack to the bowlers.

When Samson finally got out, Rajasthan still required 56 off 34 balls. Brad Hodge’s cameo of 32 off 18 balls took the hosts to within touching distance of the target but a twist in the tale still remained.

Watson got out in the penultimate over with Rajasthan requiring 10 runs off 9 balls. Vinay Kumar dismissed Hodge in the second ball of the last over while Owais Shah (0) was run out the very next ball to create some last-minute excitement.

With Rajsthan requiring three off two balls, Stuart Binny (6 not out) hoicked Vinay Kumar for a four over mid-wicket to give his team a crucial victory.

Bangalore, put in to bat, got off to a rollicking start courtesy Chris Gayle, who once again looked in ominous form.

The visitors raced to 39 runs in just three overs with Gayle already smashing six fours and a six.

However, things took a turn for the worse as Shane Watson, who has only recently started bowling after a prolonged injury lay-off, got him to edge a delivery straight into the wicketkeeper Sanju Samson’s hands.

The Royal Challengers’ innings seemed to stagnate after the fall of the big West Indian. Virat Kohli (32 off 25), who is third highest run getter this season, failed to provide impetus to the innings.

AB de Villers (21) tried to push the run rate up but perished before he could do much damage. Moises Henriques (22) too kept the scoreboard ticking but with innings drawing to its close, the Bangalore batsman could not hit the big shots.

It was pacer Vinay Kumar (22 off 6) who showed his more illustrious batters in the team on how to hit the sixes.

The medium pacer tonked three massive sixes in the last four balls to give his team the push they needed for posting a fighting total on a good batting wicket.

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