If ever insinuations are raised about teams tanking matches, perhaps the Kings XI Punjab will run themselves into the contenders list. Such shambolic performance did not merit mention. What they did do though is restore confidence for the Rajasthan Royals who survived by the skin of their teeth against the Deccan Chargers in their previous match.
It was not even a contest anymore. At the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, the KXIP team were so out of their element that the Royals raised the fastest fifty of the IPL 3 in only 3.5 overs and had already pocketed a cool 100 runs in the chase for 153 by the ninth over.
The ignominy rest most firmly on the KXIP team, with the coach, Tom Moody, seen animated and virtually shouting off the team during the first strategic time out and none could say they did not deserve it. Their fielding was poor, their bowling was worse than that seen in the ‘gully cricket’ of Mumbai and there was nothing about the team to say, they were still in for the fight.
To make matters worse, Sreesanth picked up his second notorious moment of the IPL in three seasons when his repeated no balls saw Michael Lumb hit a four only to have Sreesanth exchange words with him, applaud him in mockery and then, applaud the umpire. Yuvraj Singh stepped in to put Sreesanth in his place but it was going to take more, clearly, to tie him down.
Unfortunately that was not only the most sensational moment of the match but also, the ugliest one till date in IPL 3.
Lumb has only strengthened his stand with the Royals once Graeme Smith was forced out of the way through injury and with Naman Ojha being the other batsmen in form, the Rajasthan Royals did not need to test their batting order. Lumb painted eighty-three runs off just forty-three balls while Ojha was once again at his sublime best with forty-four runs.
Another labourious effort marked the KXIP batting with Mahela Jayawardene making forty-four to top the list and the usual suspects – Manvinder Bisla, Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh trying to uphold their end of the bargain and failing poorly, Siddharth Trivedi and Aditya Dole upholding the Royals’ reputation for bringing to the forefront the efforts of the Indian faces as well.
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