Kevon Cooper scalped three vital wickets before Ajinkya Rahane scored an unbeaten half century to help Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets and inch closer to securing a play-off berth in the ongoing Pepsi Indian Premier League here today.
By virtue of this win, Rajasthan have moved to the second position in the team standings with 18 points from 13 games behind table toppers Chennai Super Kings (20 points).
Opting to field, Cooper picked up the wickets of Adam Gilchrist (42), Shaun Marsh (77) and danger man David Miller giving away just 23 runs off his four overs to help Rajasthan restrict Kings XI to 145 for six.
The visitors then rode on Rahane’s unbeaten 59 off 49 deliveries and useful contributions from Sanju Samson (47 not out) and Shane Watson (31) to chase down the target with an over to spare.
Rajasthan’s chase, however, did not start on a good note as they lost skipper Rahul Dravid early when he was cleaned up by left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma.
Rahane and Watson then shared 65 runs off 50 balls for the second wicket to set the platform for Rajasthan’s chase.
Just when it seemed the duo would run away with the game, Piyush Chawla went through Watson’s defence. The Australian all-rounder laced his 25-ball innings with three boundaries and one huge hit over the fence.
But that was all Kings XI could manage as Rahane and Samson played sensibly thereafter and mixed caution with aggression to guide Rajasthan home without any further damage.
While Rahane struck three fours and as many sixes during his knock, young Samson’s knock came off just 33 balls with the help of five hits to the fence and one over it.
Earlier, Rajasthan bowlers maintained discipline despite an attractive half-century by Marsh and an equally useful contribution from Gilchrist, to restrict Kings XI Punjab inside the 150-run mark.