Australian players Shane Watson and Shaun Tait powered the Rajasthan Royals to a seven-wicket victory over the Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday, while Kings XI Punjab beat the Deccan Chargers by 25 runs.
Watson smashed an unbeaten 90 as Rajasthan made 126-3 in only 16.2 overs after Tait had taken 3-13 to help restrict the home side to a meager 125-6 at Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.
Watson hammered four sixes and 10 fours from 51 balls against the hapless Sourav Ganguly-led side.
Watson, who came in to bat at No. 3, belted left-arm spinner Murali Kartik for 16 in an over and took 15 off five deliveries from pace bowler Ashish Nehra.
The all-rounder’s dominance was demonstrated by the next highest scorer for his team being Ashok Menaria with 18.
“The wicket was a bit slow, I suppose it was my night tonight,” Watson said. “I just back myself. I have a clear mind and try to hit straight.”
Earlier, Tait struck at timely intervals to stop Pune getting a partnership going.
Ganguly was Tait’s first dismissal, the batsman miscuing an attempted pull off a well-directed bouncer to be out for 14. Robin Uthappa (13) and Mithun Manhas (11) were his other wickets, the bowler varying the length of his deliveries and his pace, often having the batsmen hopping about.
Anustup Majumdar, who played for the Kolkata Knight Riders before moving to Pune last year, was the top-scorer for his team with 30 from 20 balls, hitting two sixes and a four.
The win lifted former champions Rajasthan into fourth place in the nine-team league with six wins and six losses from 12 games. Pune are second-bottom with four wins and nine losses from 13 games and virtually out of contention for the playoffs.
At Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad, in-form Punjab opener Mandeep Singh scored 75 off 48 balls. He hit three sixes and eight fours as his team posted a formidable 170-5 and then restricted Deccan to 145-8.
Punjab captain David Hussey struck two crucial blows in the 11th over of Deccan’s innings, dismissing Australian compatriots Daniel Harris for 30 and Cameron White for 8 as Deccan slipped from 70-2 to 71-4 in the space of four deliveries.
Punjab are fifth with six wins and six losses from 12 games, while Deccan are last and out of contention with two wins, nine losses and one no-result from 12 games.