Rajasthan Royals snatch thrilling win

PORT ELIZABETH: Rajasthan Royals staged a dramatic fightback to upset table-toppers Deccan Chargers by three wickets in their Indian Premier League match here on Saturday.

Defending 141-5, Deccan looked set for victory when they reduced Rajasthan to 3-3 in the second over but some sloppy efforts in the field saw the defending champions steal a sensational win with two balls to spare.

Yusuf Pathan, brought down to No 8, did the trick, hitting 24 from 14 balls with two fours and two sixes. Man of the matchPathan came in with Rajasthan needing 49 off 35 but reduced the asking rate to a mere 11 from 12 balls. Abhishek Raut (not out 36), and Lee Carseldine (39) were the other contributors.

Tirumalsetti Suman earlier top-scored for Deccan with an unbeaten 41 after captain Adam Gilchrist gave the side a blazing start, scoring a 41-ball 39 with five fours and two sixes. Suman shared a stand of 59 runs for the fourth wicket with Rohit Sharma (38) to rescue the side from 58-3.

Shane Harwood took a wicket off his very first ball and also scalped another at the death to finish with impressive figures of 2-25.

On Friday, Kings XI Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh took a hat-trick and slammed a half-century but it was not enough to secure a win for his side against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Instead, Roelof van der Merwe spurred Bangalore to an eight-run win, hitting 35 off 19 balls, taking 2-22 and pulling off a crucial run-out. Bangalore seemed in trouble at 84-6 after Yuvraj dismissed Robin Uthappa, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher with successive deliveries. But Van der Merwe hit three sixes and three fours to enable Bangalore to reach 145 for nine.

Yuvraj opened the batting with Karan Goel and the pair seemed to have put their side well on the way to victory with a stand of 70. But the game changed dramatically when Anil Kumble had Yuvraj caught in the tenth over. Yuvraj made 50 off 34 balls with four sixes and three fours.

Van der Merwe dismissed Goel in the next over and then ran out Simon Katich with a superb diving stop and quick throw. The Kings XI were unable to regain their momentum and their target became almost impossible when Van der Merwe dismissed Mahela Jayawardene, leaving Punjab needing 30 off 17 overs. Van der Merwe’s over cost 13 runs including four leg byes and a wide, but Kumble bowled Kumar Sangakarra in the next over and Praveen Kumar killed Punjab’s hopes with two wickets in the final over.