Rajasthan Royals Faulkner
Rajasthan Royals bowler James Faulkner celebrates the wicket of Sunrisers all-rounder Darren Sammy in their IPL 2013 gameDeepak Malik/IPL/SPORTZPICS

Australian duo James Faulkner and Shane Watson combined brilliantly to take the Rajasthan Royals to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2013.

In a match which looked like it could be over in a couple of hours, the Sunrisers fought back brilliantly from 29 for six to post 144 for nine from their 20 overs, thanks to an outstanding half-century from Darren Sammy, with James Faulkner picking up a five-for for the Royals.

Watson was unstoppable in the chase, ending on an unbeaten 98 from just 53 balls, to guide the Royals to 146 for two in just 17.5 overs.

The Royals built a solid base for the chase courtesy Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson, despite losing Ajinkya Rahane in the third over.

Dale Steyn dismissed Rahane, after the opener only found the toe end of the bat while trying to go for an almighty heave, with Kumar Sangakkara taking the catch behind the wicket.

From there, it was just a matter of playing patiently for the Royals, seeing out the new ball and ensuring they had wickets in hand to accelerate in the end.

Dravid, who had come into open with Rahane, dropped anchor, while Watson was the aggressor in the partnership of 74 from just a little over ten overs.

Thisara Perera picked up the wicket of Dravid (36, 35b, 4x4, 1x6) in the 13th over, leaving Royals needing 63 runs from the last seven overs.

Watson, who had scored an outstanding hundred in his previous innings, though, was in imperious form, and the Australian all-rounder kept picking up the boundaries at the right moments, and with it taking the Royals ever closer to the target.

The turning point came in the 15th over, when Ishant Sharma conceded 20 runs, with Watson carting the fast bowler for three fours and a six. Watson (98, 53b, 13x4, 4x6) continued his assault in the next over, smashing Thisara Perera for a couple of fours and a maximum as Royals coasted to the target with ease.

In the first innings, it was disaster for the Sunrisers in the first six overs, before Darren Sammy led the fightback with brilliant effect.

The first wicket to fall was Akshath Reddy, who was beaten in the flight by Ajit Chandila, with an ensuing leading edge falling straight to the lap of Shane Watson.

James Faulkner got another two in the second over. First to go was the returning Kumar Sangakkara caught at first slip by Watson, before, Shikhar Dhawan, who played a brilliant innings in his comeback in the last match, fell two deliveries later, finding Rahane at point off a wide delivery, which should have been dispatched to the boundary.

The Sunrisers were up against it on seven for three at that point and it got worse - much worse. Faulkner struck again in his second over, with Karan Sharma's attempted pull off a short delivery only finding a top edge, which was lapped up by Brad Hodge.

Perera, one of the more experienced players in the lineup, let his team down, holing out to Kevon Cooper at long-on off Chandila, when the Sunrisers desperately needed him to stay at the crease and do some damage control.

Darren Sammy came into the crease at 19 for five, and immediately looked good in the middle, smashing a couple of boundaries off Watson, before Hanuma Vihari was dismissed by Cooper, making it 29 for six from 6.1 overs.

It was a sorry state really, as the top six batsmen had combined for a paltry 20 runs together, with Karan Sharma the top scorer among those with six.

Sammy, though, did not let the situation get to him, handling it really well as he went about building a crucial seventh-wicket partnership with Amit Mishra. The two put together 58 runs in eight overs, as the Sunrisers went from 29 for six to 87 for seven.

Mishra was dismissed off Faulkner's first delivery on his return, but his 28-ball 21 was vital to the Sunrisers staking any sort of claim in the game.

Ashish Reddy, who played a blinder in the last game, scored a quickfire 14, as Sammy continued to master the Royals bowling, reaching his first ever T20 fifty off another boundary from just 37 deliveries.

Faulkner (five for 20), though, was celebrating his five-for soon after as the umpire gave Sammy (60, 41b, 8x4, 1x6) out lbw off a ball that straightened just a touch.

Almost all off Sammy's boundaries were via proper cricketing strokes, and considering the situation in which he scored, it was a quite brilliant knock for his highest ever score in T20. Incidentally, the five for 20 was also Faulkner's best ever figures.

The repair work wasn't over as Dale Steyn smashed two fours and a six off Cooper's last over to take the total to 144 for nine, quite commendable considering they were down six wickets with less than 30 runs on the board.