Pathan fireworks ease Royals to victory

Ahmedabad: Yusuf Pathan rediscovered his form smashing a brutal 73 to help the Rajasthan Royals cruise to a comprehensive victory over the Deccan Chargers at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Pathan arrived at the crease with the Royals 55-1 and after three disappointing outings with the bat the Indian launched a brutal attack on the Chargers bowlers to help the home side cruise to victory with 26 balls to spare.

Having won the toss and electing to bat first the Deccan Chargers were indebted to Rohit Sharma’s innings of 49 which rescued the defending champs after their top order was unable to keep an inspired Shane Warne at bay.

The Chargers got of to the worst possible start losing skipper, Adam Gilchrist (1) in the first over when he was caught by Irfan Pathan at mid off after he attempted to smash Suimit Narwal away to the boundary.

Herschelle Gibbs responded in fine fashion by clubbing two huge sixes into the stands of the bowling off Abhishek Jhunjhunwala in the next over as the South African wasted little time in attack the Royals bowlers

The Chargers lost VVS Laxman (10) in the 4th which brought Andrew Symonds to crease who’s launched his innings by smashing 3 fours of the bowling of Narwal in the next over before the Royals struck back.

The spate of boundaries brought up the Chargers 50 leaving the Royals on the back foot. With his bowlers starting to feel the pressure Shane Warne stepped up and bowled a perfect looping delivery which Gibbs (25) missed with the bat and was brilliantly stumped by Naman Ojha.

The Chargers lost another vital wicket two overs later when danger man Symonds (22) ran himself out going for an ill judged second run and was nowhere near the crease when Warne collected Jhunjhunwala's throw from long on to knock the bails of.

The Charges lost two more wickets to slip to 104-6 as the Royals never let the batsman get settled at the crease as Warne continually changed his bowlers and field positions.

Sharma remained in control at the crease as the middle order collapsed around him as he help steer the Chargers to a total of 148-9.

The Royals enjoyed a great start to their run chase with Lumb and Naman Ojha sharing another good opening stand building a partnership off 55 as the home side attacked the Chargers bowlers in the early overs.

After a couple of poor batting performances Lumb is starting to show exactly why the Royals signed him. He smashed four consecutive boundaries of the bowling of RP Singh in the third as the home side raced past 50 from just 30 balls.

The partnership was broken by Adam Gilchrist in the 6th who stumped Ojha (14) giving Pragyan Ojha the important breakthrough.

The wicket would have given the Chargers hope had it not been for Irfan Pathan who was moved up the order to number three after the Royals great start. The Indian all rounder quickly got into the action smashing the second ball he faced over long off with a massive six.

The partnership had reached 46 from just 29 balls before Lumb (45) was left stranded in the middle of the wicket after Pathan turned down a second run ending his innings with the Royals 101-2.

Pathan brought up his half century with a big six over long off as the Royals closed in on a comprehensive victory over the defending champs.