Shaun Marsh hammered 71 off 42 balls as Kings XI Punjab crushed Rajasthan Royals by 48 runs for their third win in a row in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Marsh capitalised on a blazing start by new batting sensation Paul Valthaty (46) and skipper Adam Gilchrist (28) to help the home team post 195-7, the highest total of the Twenty20 tournament so far.
Rajasthan were hardly ever in the chase, folding up at 147-7 with seamer Praveen Kumar and Bhargav Bhatt grabbing two wickets apiece on an easy-paced track at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium.
Ashok Menaria (34) did try to salvage the innings after Rajasthan were reduced to 99-5 but in vain.
The defeat was Rajasthan’s third in six matches while Punjab joined Mumbai Indians at the top with six points from four outings each.
Skipper Shane Warne’s decision to field first backfired as Punjab raced away to the 100-run mark inside the first 10 overs.
Luck also seemed to go Punjab’s way with openers Gilchrist and Valthaty enjoying early reprieves in their knocks.
Gilchrist played on to his stumps off Siddharth Trivedi but it turned out to be a no-ball and Valthaty was caught at third slip, but this time Shuan Tait (3-22) was found to have over-stepped.
The Australian wicketkeeper-batsman went on to share 67 runs off 26 balls with his younger partner before falling to his former teammate Shane Watson.
Valthaty, who was dropped twice in two balls in his 40s, finally ran out of luck when he was caught by Tait off Warne in the 10th over.
He hit three sixes and four fours in his 31-ball knock to surge to the top of the batting charts with 247 runs ahead of superstar Sachin Tendulkar (236).
Marsh also made merry, once carting three sixes in an over by Warne to cap a miserable outing for the Aussie spin legend. – AFP