Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rajasthan Royals on fire

Rajasthan Royals maintained their perfect home record and moved to the brink of a semi-final place with an emphatic 65-run win over Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

An assured batting display from the home side paved the way for victory as they lost just the wicket of Swapnil Asnodkar (50) in their total of 197 for one.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith proved the mainstay of the innings hitting 75 from 49 balls while Shane Watson added 46 off 28.

And when the recalled Sohail Tanvir took two early wickets to reduce the visitors to five for three match was all but sealed.

Bangalore captain Rahul Dravid provided the only resistence for the visitors hitting 75, including six sixes, from 36 balls as his side could manage just 132 for nine from their 20 overs.

Uncertainty surrounded the staging of the match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium following the bomb blasts in Jaipur on Tuesday.

Rajasthan captain Shane Warne and several other of the team's overseas players had voiced concerns about staying in the city while Bangalore requested the game be moved to the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

However, the fixture got the green light to go ahead as planned after IPL commissioner Lalit Modi assured the "necessary security arrangements" would be put in place for the game.

Dravid won the toss and put Rajasthan in to bat and Asnodkar immediately signalled his intent smashing Zaheer Khan for six from the final ball of the opening over.

The 24-year-old right-hander shared a 109-run stand with Smith, before he became Anil Kumble's first victim of the tournament, slashing a shot to Misbah-ul-Haq at short third man.

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