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. The Haryana spinner snapped 4 for 13 in his quota of four overs to ensure Rajasthan's win. With the win today, Rajasthan remained in content_cnion for a play-offs spot with 14 points from 14 matches.
Chasing a challenging total of 171, Pune Warriors managed 125 for 9 in their 20 overs. The visitors got off to a disastrous start as they lost two quick wickets in the first over. Chandila first had Jesse Ryder caught by Shane Watson before having Sourav Ganguly stumped on the very next ball. Robin Uthappa was his third victim.
Steven Smith top-scored with 37 while Callum Fergusson and Angelo Mathews made identical 23. Smith and Mathews shared 39 runs from four overs for the sixth wicket to give a semblance of a fight before the former was out in the 15th over. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3), Mathews and Rahul Sharma (0) were out in the space of 11 balls with the latter two falling in the 18th over, both victims of Watson as Pune could only score 125 for nine in the end.
Earlier, twins fifties from Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane helped Rajasthan post a competitive 170 for 4. Watson blitzed 58 off just 31 deliveries, while his in-form teammate Rahane top-scored with 61 off 47 to take his aggregate for the season to 541.
Electing to bat first, Rajasthan openers got the team off to a steady start. Ashish Nehra then got the first breakthrough for the visitors when he had Dravid caught behind for 21. Dravid had gone past 400 runs. From there, Watson and Rahane took their time to get their eye in. Watson reached his fifty with that six in the 26th ball he faced with four fours and as many sixes.
The pair shared a 94-run partnership for the second wicket with all the visiting bowlers struggling. Watson, however, fell in the 15th over to Nehra who returned for his second spell. Rahane, who had been playing the support role until that point, stepped up after Watson's dismissal.
Brad Hodge (14) helped Rahane put on 33 before he was caught by Sourav Ganguly off Nehra at mid-wicket, shortly after Rahane had got to his own half-century from 40 balls and Rajasthan had past 150-run mark. Rahane was finally bowled by Angelo Mathews for 61 in the final over of the innings. For Pune, Ashish Nehra was the pick of bowlers with figures of 3 for 23 while Angelo Mathews got 1 for 29 runs.