Graeme Smith and Najan Ojha crashed half-centuries to help The Royals post the first total above 200 in this season’s IPL and the target proved beyond Kings XI’s heralded batting line-up.
The only thing Yuvraj Singh got right was to call correctly at the toss, as his side bowled and fielded poorly and came up short with the bat, while The Royals’ resurgence under Shane Warne continues apace.
Rajasthan had been crying out for a decent start and Warne’s decision to pull Swopnil Asnodkar from the line of fire paid off in some style as Ojha made a whirlwind start. He clattered Romesh Powar for 16 in the first over and the scoreboard ticking at the other end appeared to ease the pressure on Smith.
With Ojha swinging from the hip, Smith was able to play himself in. But once he had built a platform, the South African took severe toll on the King XI attack.
Smith blasted his way to 77 from 44 balls, as The Royals put on 135 for the first wicket – the highest in The IPL.
The South African skipper fell to the off spin of Romesh Powar, but it did not check the momentum as Ojha continued his attack and Yusuf Pathan bludgeoned a couple of boundaries.
Ojha’s innings was brought to an end by Piyush Chawla after making 68, but Ravi Jadeja (33 off 12 balls) and Lee Carseldine (16 off 9 balls) took The Royals to 211/4 – the first total over 200 in the 2009 IPL season.
Kings XI needed a solid start chasing down 212, but they did not get it as Amit Singh took the wickets of Sunny Sohal and Karan Goel in the first over.
Kumar Sangakkara was offered a life by Warne who dropped the Sri Lankan at second slip, but he failed to cash in as he was stumped by Ojha off the bowling of Yusuf Pathan.
Big hitting is not Mahela Jayawardene’s forte and he fell to the bowling of Shane Harwood when attempting to up the rate.
Rajasthan’s attack bowled with real aggression, Harwood hit the deck extremely hard, and Kings XI had no answer.
Yuvraj hit a few booming sixes to thrill the crowd but he became Singh's third wicket of the game as Kings XI tumbled to a 78-run defeat.