In another one of those low-scorers that IPL 2013 has witnessed in scores, Rajasthan Royals picked up a comfortable six-wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
Put into bat, Kings XI were bowled out for 124, with Royals easing to the target with six wickets and four balls to spare.
The Royals started their chase in confident fashion, with Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane looking in control, while playing some glorious shots. The openers put together 43 runs in just 4.4 overs, before Watson(32, 19b, 7x4), who hit Ryan Harris for three consecutive boundaries in the second over, holed out to Mandeep Singh at mid-on, right after smashing Parwinder Awana for consecutive fours.
Rahane continued to stick around at the other end, but wickets kept falling around him starting with Royals captain Dravid, who could not produce another masterful innings in IPL-6.
Praveen Kumar, in the final over of a brilliant four-over spell, picked up both Dravid and the dangerous Stuart Binny to bring Kings XI back into the game.
Kumar, who finished with figures of 4-1-10-2, first induced an outside edge from Dravid, with Gilchrist completing a nice catch, before another outside edge saw the Kings XI skipper take another brilliant catch.
Royals were now on 58 for three, needing another 67 runs from 12 overs, with Hodge joining Rahane at the crease.
The Australian veteran is the perfect man to finish matches, but was trapped in front by Piyush Chawal for a 16-ball 15, leaving the Royals needing another 46 from the last seven overs.
Rahane (34, 42b, 3x4)), however, kept his cool under the circumstances, and with the company of the impressive 18-year-old youngster Sanju Samson (23, 23b, 3x4))from Kerala, led the Royals to another impressive win.
It was a train-wreck of a first innings for Kings XI Punjab as almost every single batsman struggled to find their rhythm.
They were up against it with barely three overs gone, as Adam Gilchrist, Mandeep Singh and Manan Vohra trudged back to the pavilion with just 10 runs on the board, with S Sreesanth making up for a sub-par game in the last match with a brilliant opening burst.
Kings XI skipper Gilchrist was the first to go, caught nicely at mid-off by Siddarth Trivedi, giving Sreesanth his first wicket as the Australian legend was left to chew on another failure in IPL 2013.
Four balls later, Sreesanth (two for 14) had his second wicket, as Mandeep Singh only managed to find Stuart Binny at third man, while chasing a wide out-swinging delivery.
Two overs later, Vohra ran himself out, taking on James Faulkner after a drop to offside, with the Royals fielder knocking down the stumps with authority.
The onus was now on David Hussey to rescue Kings XI, and the Australian batsman played the only knock of worth in the first innings, scoring a much-needed 41 off 31 balls, which included four fours and a maximum.
Kevon Cooper, Faulkner and Trivedi kept up the pressure, though, after the early burst from Sreesanth, as the trio also took two wickets a piece, leading to Kings XI being bowled out for a well below par 124 from 18.5 overs.