Riding on an unbeaten 90 from Watson, Rajasthan notched up a seven-wicket win over Pune with 22 balls to go.
Pune: Riding on a splendid unbeaten 90 from Shane Watson, Rajasthan Royals notched up a seven-wicket win over Pune Warriors India with 22 balls to go at the Sahara Subrato Roy Stadium on Tuesday.
Watson was fluent and looked at ease in his 51-ball 90 which was studded with 10 fours and four sixes. Wayne Parnell, Michael Clarke and Bhubaneshwar Kumar claimed a wicket each.
Chasing a modest target of 126, Rajasthan lost in-form Ajinkya Rahane (0) in the second over off Wayne Parnell caught at backward point where Steve Smith took a brilliant diving catch.
The new ball was doing a bit earlier on and Rahul Dravid struggled to connect, but with Shane Watson got a good partnership going before falling to a slower ball off Parnell caught at covers by Clarke. Dravid scored a 16-ball 14 which included two hits to the boundary.
Then Watson took charge and stitched in a 56-run stand with youngster Ashok Menaria to take Rajasthan close to win. But when Menaria fell in 13.4 over, Rajasthan were 105 and after that Watson ensured no further hiccups.
Earlier, Pune Warriors' skipper, Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bat and managed only 125 for 6.
Right from the start, Pune batsmen struggled to score freely as Rajasthan bowlers maintained a tight line and length. Anustup Majumdar making his IPL debut scored a quickfire 30 off 20 balls, which included one four and two sixes. Even their man in crisis, Smith was unable to accelerate the scoring and got 18 off 22 balls.
For Rajasthan, Shaun Tait was the pick of the bowlers and returned with figures of 3 for 13, while Johan Botha and Stuart Binny chipped in with one wicket each.
However, Ganguly's bad run with the bat continued as the former India captain failed to revive the batsman of the old and scored 14 off 18 balls. While Clarke on the other hand looked scratchy and could not survive for long before he fell to Binny leg before for 16.