On most days during this IPL season the Kings XI Punjab have failed to show up and perform in their games. Yesterday in Jaipur was no exception. The glorious win over the Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match seemed a distant memory as the IPL strugglers followed a limp batting display with an atrocious fielding effort to hand the Rajasthan Royals a handsome nine-wicket win.
Michael Lumb's brilliance stood in stark contrast to the Punjab mediocrity. He meant business and smashed a fluent 83 that maintained Rajasthan's unbeaten record in Jaipur. Shane Warne's men are now third in the table, a remarkable turnaround after losing their first three games. "We've had a tough sort of week," said Warne, the Rajasthan captain. "We have been on the road and played four games in eight days and travelled. So it was nice to see the boys come out and put in a really good performance on the field.
"I thought we did OK. Our bowlers, the quickies did well and then the batting was fantastic. Lumb and Naman Ojha have been pretty good for us the whole season. I thought Lumby was superb." With the partisan home fans cheering him on, Lumb scored 76 of his runs in boundaries, with 16 fours and two sixes to show why he was named in England's World T20 squad. When he departed in the 10th over after his 43-ball blitz, the Royals needed just 45 more to win at a little more than four an over. They finished with 30 balls to spare.
"It's one of those days," said Lumb. "You need a bit of luck and I got lucky. A few hit the middle of the bat. It was nice. "You move around at the crease sometimes, put the bowler off. So I moved around a bit and it seemed to work." Before the gremlins took over, Punjab were not all that bad. They seemed to be cruising to a formidable score with Mahela Jayawardene and Yuvraj Singh at the crease. Together, they added 56 runs from 32 balls and looked threatening.
But Aditya Dole struck two telling blows in the 12th over that turned the game around. He dismissed Yuvraj and Jayawardene and from then on Kings XI were on a downward spiral. From a promising 103 for two after 11 overs, they crawled to a disappointing 153 for six, failing to hit a boundary in the last five overs that yielded only 27 runs. "The wicket of Yuvraj was really crucial for us," said Ojha, who was unbeaten on 44 for Rajasthan. "He was batting really well, but fortunately, Dole was able to get his wicket. "In the same over, Jayawardene got out as well and credit goes to Warne's field placing. He set really attacking fields for Jayawardene." * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi, with agencies
Kings XI Punjab: Manvinder Bisla c Fazal b Watson 20 Mahela Jayawardene c Warne b Dole 44 Kumar Sangakkara c Pathan b Trivedi 9 Yuvraj Singh b Dole 28 Irfan Pathan not out 24 Ravi Bopara run out (Jhunjhunwala/Ojha) 8 Piyush Chawla c Jhunjhunwala b Trivedi 10 Bipul Sharma not out 1 Extras (lb 2, w 7) 9 Total (for six wickets in 20 overs) 153 Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-52, 3-108, 4-109, 5-128, 6-149 Bowling: Aditya Dole 4-0-36-2 Shane Watson 4-0-19-1 Yusuf Pathan 4-0-26-0 Siddharth Trivedi 4-0-22-2 Shane Warne 3-0-42-0 Faiz Fazal 1-0-6-0 Rajasthan Royals: Michael Lumb c Chawla b Bopara 83 Naman Ojha not out 44 Yusuf Pathan not out 21 Extras (lb 2, w 4, nb 3) 9 Total (for one wicket in 15 overs) 157 Fall of wickets: 1-109 Bowling: Sreesanth 3-0-40-0 Ramesh Powar 2-0-18-0 Juan Theron 2-0-23-0 Piyush Chawla 4-0-27-0 Bipul Sharma 1-0-12-0 Irfan Pathan 1-0-17-0 Ravi Bopara 2-0-18-1