Ajit Chandila took a hat-trick as he ripped through the Pune Warriors top order to lead Rajasthan Royals to a 45-run win yesterday to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Indian Premier League.
The unheralded off-spinner removed Jesse Ryder (one) and Sourav Ganguly (two) with the final two balls of the first over and Robin Uthappa (six) with the first ball of his next as he returned figures of four wickets for 13.
Chandila reduced Pune to 11 for three at one stage and they were eventually restricted to 125 for nine in reply to Rajasthan's 170 for four.
A delighted Chandila credited Narendra Hirwani, the former India spinner, and Rahul Dravid, the Rajasthan captain, for giving him the encouragement to shine with the ball.|
He said in his post match television interview after being named man of the match: "It was a crucial match for us, the pressure was on me. I called Narendra Hirwani for advice once I learnt I am going to play today, he gave me plenty of confidence, as did Dravid.
"This is just the start, there is still a way to go to complete my dream."
Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson were the mainstays of the Rajasthan innings, the former making 61 off 47 balls and the latter 58 off 31, including four sixes.
The pair put on 94 in 10 overs for the second wicket, and Watson said he believed the team are coming into form at the right time.
"Everybody performed today," the Australian said. "We've got a well balanced unit, we've got some firepower.
"We need to put another complete game against Deccan in our next game."
Any hope that Pune had of chasing down Rajasthan's total were immediately wrecked by Chandila and while Steve Smith (37), Callum Ferguson (23) and Angelo Mathews (23) put up some resistance for the Warriors, but there was no way back as the Royals cruised to their seventh win of the season to move to within a point of fourth-placed Chennai in the standings.
The defeat was Pune's eighth in a row as their campaign continues to tail off, and Ganguly, the Pune captain, said: "It's hard to go down like this. I hope it is a learning experience for us.
"We've got some injuries, this is what is available, we have tried to pick the best possible team.
"I've never seen Chandila bowling before, he's a bit slower in the air. Wonderful result for him."
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE