Pune Warriors v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2012, Pune May 8, 2012

Watson and Tait crush insipid Pune


Rajasthan Royals 126 for 3 (Watson 90*) beat Pune Warriors 125 for 6 (Majumdar 30, Tait 3-13) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shaun Tait set it up and Shane Watson finished the job in clinical fashion. Rajasthan Royals delivered a seven-wicket drubbing to a low on morale Pune Warriors and moved to fourth in the points table. Warriors looking to reverse a five-match losing streak, struggled against restrictive Royals bowling to post 125, but lacked the firepower to cause a scare. After an impressive start to the tournament, they limped out of the race for the playoffs.

Royals conceded just five fours - the least in a completed innings this season - and were spearheaded by Tait, who took 3 for 13. Unlike Royals, who duly opened with the aggressive Watson, Warriors saved their power hitters for the middle order. Sourav Ganguly promoted himself to open after, curiously, coming in at No.7 against Kolkata Knight Riders. It was a questionable move having Ganguly and Michael Clarke right at the top, given that they aren't the quickest scorers in the line-up. What followed was a sluggish opening passage, in which the Powerplay overs had 14 dots.

Ganguly charged the seamers, made room, but failed to find the timing to match his intentions. Clarke's drives failed to find the middle of the bat, often resulting in edges and mistimed flicks. Both openers were searching for a release, but the slower balls and the wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik standing up to the stumps thwarted them.

Warriors lost Ganguly as he miscued a pull off Tait, giving a swirling catch to square leg. Despite Warriors struggling to find the boundaries, they persisted with their conservative approach by promoting little-known Bengal batsman Anustup Majumdar ahead of more aggressive options like Angelo Mathews and Steven Smith.

Only two fours were scored in the first ten overs, the lowest this season. Save for the first over, never at any stage in that period did the rate go above six an over. Majumdar interrupted a 42-ball snoozefest when he gave Ankeet Chavan a charge and launched him for the first of two sixes over wide long-on in the 11th over, which cost 16 runs - the most expensive of the innings.

However, his cameo didn't last longer than 20 balls when he was yorked by a 98.4 kph missile from Johan Botha the following over. The last eight overs produced just 46 runs to give Warriors a total well under par.

Royals lost their star player Ajinkya Rahane for a duck courtesy a brilliant one-handed catch at point by Smith. Smith nearly pulled off a freak catch at the boundary which would have sent Watson back on 11, if the rule on outfield catches hadn't been tweaked. After going deep in his crease to pound a six off Murali Kartik, he repeated the shot four balls later. Smith cupped the ball over his head, realised the momentum was taking him over the rope and threw the ball up. He was outside the field of play and airborne when he palmed the ball back in front of the rope, deeming it a six, owing to the rule change.

Watson capitalised on that lifeline and proceeded to hammer boundaries. At the end of five overs, Royals had hit five fours and two sixes, the same number Warriors managed in 20. Watson tore into Ashish Nehra, clipping two half volleys to the leg side for fours, before pulling another loosener over fine leg for six to bring up his fifty. Watson scored a massive 71.4% of the team's total, underlining his dominance on a pitch which flummoxed 11 Warriors.

Royals coasted home with 22 balls remaining, making it one of the more one-sided encounters this season. Warriors, with eight points from 13 games, now have only pride to play for.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajib on May 10, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Dadu's strike rate is 97 (in 17 games) and avg is 20! This is bcz dadu is concentrating more on captaincy rather than his batting. Not logical? Ok, he has poor strike rate and avg due to his non-performing teammate. Not logical? It would b if u turn into a dadu's fanboy. Go ahead dadu wth ur blazing strike rate and fatty avg-u ve left a lot of grandchild to pull u frm hell to heaven.

  • Varun on May 9, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    Sourav Ganguly is a burden on PWI. He is a legend of Indian cricket and is truly one of the greatest Captains the game has seen, and indeed his captaincy has impressed me in this tournament. However, he is resting on past laurels now and isn't as capable as an international-level batsman as he used to be. He is having difficulty in timing the ball and finding the middle of the bat, and also, he has never been a very good T20 player. Indian and especially Bengali fanatics might still argue that their 'Dada' still has it in him, but it is clear for all to see that this unfit 40-year old is a shadow of SC Ganguly, the best Captain India ever had. Pune must replace Michael Clarke, another player not suited for T20 cricket, with Tamim Iqbal who was in great form in the Asia Cup. Steve Smith must be promoted up the order and Robin Uthappa must be told to play aggressively as his depressingly slow batting is hindering the team's progress. Another bad season for PWI ...

  • Vinod on May 9, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    i say, dadaji should retire now.

  • debopratim on May 9, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Pune's team is quite weak and the fact that they couldnot enter the auction means they missed out on narine,jayawardene,jadeja etc so its not 100% ganguly's fault...captain is only as good as its team

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Watson - U beauty. One of my favorite players !

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    That was exceptional knock from Watson and extreme bowling from Tait so congrats but again Pune leave out Tamim and instead use this useless Michael Clarke who has done nothing since he came to India halfway through whereas Tamim has been there since the start of the IPL tournament but not once has been selected how disrespectful simply because he's Bangladeshi. This is really absurd but no surprises, they are Indians and and that's how they act these days. No worries though at least people like me and Tamin can have the last laugh because Pune are second from bottom and almost certain to be knocked haha...plus Tamim is getting paid a lot of money, good holiday plus learning as much as he can from the likes of Dada and using it to his advantage and help Bangladesh Cricket Team. The only reason I can think why Pune are not at all selecting Tamim is because if he does achieve a very high score i.e. 100 then everyone will criticize Pune for why not selecting Tamim earlier.

  • John on May 9, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    It's a total team failure and also the owners when it comes to Pune's performance in IPL 5.

    i) None of the Domestic cricketers contributed (Like Mandeep singh in Punjab)

    ii) Pune doesn't have any power performers (Like Gayle or AB) who can change the match single handedly. None of the players in Pune can be rated even half close to AB or Gayle.

    iii) Team management didn't utilise their available resource well..Tamin iqbal should've got an oppurtunity midway and Steve smith should be used for his bowling

    iv) Bowling department looked so weak once they lost Dinda

    v) Team is missing Yuvi badly

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    Congrats Dravid & RR. Keep it up.

  • Rahul on May 9, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Just have a look at the bowling averages of Nehra and Murli K who have been favored by Dada and have been given consistent opportunity and add to that performance of Samuels and Ryde Dadas blue eyed boys. All four players who were backed by their skipper to the hilt and called upon at the crucial moments of the match have let down Dada big time. Against KKR where pitch suited spinners Rahul was not given an opportunity. Steven smith who is a leg spinner and at the moment the only player with X factor in Pune team hasnt bowled at all. Thomas who had a good last season with Warriors hasnt been picked, Tamim who is in great form recently hasnt been given any chances. Constant chopping and changes in batting line up and insipid team selection...Whoa no doubt Dadas boys are languishing at the bottom. Just to make another point Dada had very average results with KKR in season 1 when he had a power packed site with some really big names.Dada is wonderful captain but perhaps not in T20.

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    LOL! Instead fof giving credit to RR, DADA's fans finding excuses for PWI's loss.Even a layman can see the difference in the captaincy between DRAVID & GANGULY.Inspite of media and Fans hype, the fact is Ganguly is a liabiity to PWI and DRAVID is an asset to RR as a captain, batsman and a coach.Statitics say, Dravid is one among the best 10 batsmen in the last 3 IPLs and as an today, he is the 5th best batmen among the 100 odd players in this IPL. Among performing Captains, DRavid is next to Sehwag &Gambhir. others viz, Harbajhan, Ganguly, Dhoni, Vettori are duds.Just accept the FACTS.

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