Chandila hat-trick clinches Royals win
Ajit Chandila's hat-trick – the ninth in the history of the Indian Premier League – led the Rajasthan Royals to a thumping victory over the Pune Warriors in Jaipur.
Ajit Chandila's hat-trick – the ninth in the history of the Indian Premier League – led the Rajasthan Royals to a thumping victory over the Pune Warriors in Jaipur on Sunday.
Whilst his feat had the effect of turning the match into a one-sided affair, which the Royals ultimately won by 45 runs, it also brought it to life as a packed crowd celebrated the little-known spinner's achievement.
Asked to open the bowling, Chandila removed Jesse Ryder and Sourav Ganguly with the final two deliveries of his first over, then had Robin Uthappa stumped with the first ball of his second to leave Pune reeling on 11 for three.
Twins fifties from Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane had taken the Royals to a competitive 170 for four after they had won the toss and elected to bat first.
The Royals focused on building a platform up front before launching in the second part of their innings, and the tactic paid off as Watson smashed four sixes in a brutal 58 from just 31 balls.
Rahul Dravid had gone past 400 runs for the Indian Premier League season as he laid the foundation with a steady 21, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Ashish Nehra.
Watson and Rahane took their time to get their eye in, but came out after the first time-out and immediately took to Rahul Sharma, with Watson bulldozing two sixes into the crowd.
That gave the Royals momentum going into the second half of the innings, which was only broken when a Nehra yorker snuck through Watson's defences.
Rahane had been playing the support role until that point, but stepped up after Watson's dismissal.
Without playing a shot in anger he breezed to his half-century, and was finally bowled by Angelo Mathews for 61 in the final over of the innings.
A target of 171 was challenging but possible, though not after Chandila had stunned a quality Pune top order. He followed up his hat-trick by having Anustup Majumdar hopelessly caught and bowled, which effectively put the match to bed.
The all-foreign middle order of Callum Ferguson, Steve Smith and Mathews put on a combined total of 83, but those runs came at no better than a run a ball as they found themselves bogged down in the middle overs.
With Watson and Johan Botha claiming two wickets apiece the game was sewn up, and the Warriors were left to merely bat out their overs in a heavy defeat that all but ended their hopes of a place in the playoffs.
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