New Delhi:Despite putting up a fight, Rajasthan Royals went down to Kings XI Punjab by 41 runs at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
This win will give Kings XI Punjab a lot of confidence, especially after a disappointing loss to Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match. They stopped Rajasthan Royals from recording their seventh win a row. Yuvraj had mentioned after his last loss about need of improvement in all the departments, especially fielding. And they did put up an improved show today.
Rajasthan can take heart from the fact that their two strike bowlers Sohail Tanvir and Shane Warne were sitting out and they will be back in the semi-final against Delhi Daredevils.
Kings XI after posting a total of 221 runs at the loss of three wickets, restricted Royals for 180 runs at the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs. Neeraj Patel and Yusuf Pathan provided some batting respite to Rajasthan. Patel struck third IPL fifty while Pathan made 39 runs.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla took three wickets and James Hopes picked two wickets apart from making 51 runs. Chawla picked the wickets of Neeraj Patel (57), Shane Watson (22) and Kamran Akmal (24). Hopes removed Yusuf Pathan (39) and Dinesh Salunkhe (6).
Pakistan's batting mainstay Younus Khan made a disappointing IPL debut as Irfan Pathan picked his wicket for just three runs.
Earlier, after put in to bat by Rajasthan's stand-in skipper Shane Watson, Kings XI openers James Hopes and Shaun Marsh flayed their bowling attack.
After all the success and adulation in the IPL tournament, there was just one thing that had eluded Shaun Marsh (115) and today he achieved that too. He got his maiden T20 hundred against the Royals. He made his century in 69 balls with the help of seven 6s and eleven 4s and picked yet another 'Man of the Match' award. Watson dismissed him in the last over but by then he had done the damage.
Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh also joined the party and made 49 runs with the help of two 4s and six 6s. He missed his fifty by a whisker when he was run out off the last ball.
The tie between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals was the last league match of the DLF Indian Premier League and its result would not have any effect on the teams facing each other in the semi-finals starting from May 30.