Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson impressed yet again as the Rajasthan Royals cruised to an eight-wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab in their IPL 2013 game in Mohali.
Rahane scored yet another unbeaten half-century to stud the Royals' chase of 146, after the Kings XI Punjab made 145 for six in their 20 overs. Samson (47) gave good company to Rahane (59) as the duo put together a nice little partnership to take their side to 147 for two with an over to spare.
The win takes the Royals to second place in the points table with nine wins in 13 games, just a couple of points behind league leaders Chennai Super Kings, while the Kings XI Punjab now have their backs to the wall to make the playoffs with just four games remaining.
The chase was very well structured by the Royals, despite losing skipper Rahul Dravid early. The Indian veteran failed to read a straight delivery from Bipul Sharma, and had to walk back to the pavilion after seeing his timber disturbed.
Rahane and Watson put together a nice little partnership of 66 from a little over eight overs, to set the platform for the run chase.
Both players played extremely intelligently, recognizing the need of the hour perfectly to take their side closer to the target.
Watson (31, 25b, 3x4, 1x6) fell in the tenth over, castled by Piyush Chawla off a quicker delivery. The match was far from done at that point, but Samson yet again played an innings well beyond his years, allying for 76 runs with Rahane to take the Royals home.
If the 18-year-old continues to show this kind of form, then India will not have to worry too much about replacing MS Dhoni, once the skipper decides to call it a day.
Samson's innings was again filled with some glorious shots, with five fours and one six in his 33-ball 47. Rahane (59, 49b, 3x3, 6x6) also continues to impress in IPL 2013, and if the opener can keep his calm in the international circuit, then he has a big future ahead of him playing for his country as well.
Earlier, the Kings XI Punjab finally got an innings of note from their captain Adam Gilchrist, but it proved to be a lot less than necessary in the final scheme of things.
Opener Mandeep Singh fell in the very first over, caught and bowled to Ajit Chandila, before Shaun Marsh and Gilchrist put on a nice little partnership of 103 from 13 overs.
Gilchrist scored 42 runs from 32 balls before perishing in the 14th over, but despite laying a nice little platform, the Kings XI Punjab side just could not capitalise fully.
David Hussey came at No. 4, when David Miller should have probably sent in, and failed, before Marsh (77, 64b, 6x4, 2x6) and Miller got out in the same over to Kevon Cooper (three for 23), as the Kings XI rather flat-lined in the final overs to eventually finish on a sub-par 145 for six.