NAGPUR: Shane Watson hit a blazing 36-ball 58 before Shane Warne returned with a four-wicket haul as Rajasthan Royals edged out Deccan Chargers by two runs in a thrilling Indian Premier League match on Monday.
Watson blasted three fours and as many sixes but Rajasthan Royals suffered a middle-order batting collapse to be dismissed for 159 in 19.5 overs after skipper Shane Warne won the toss and elected to bat.
However, Warne produced a brilliant spell of spin bowling to wreck havoc in the rival camp, dismissing – Anirudh Singh (9), Dwayne Smith (4), Azhar Bilakhia (2) and Ryan Harris (1) – as the Royals shot out Deccans two runs off the target.
For Deccan, Rohit Sharma played a brilliant 44-ball 73-run knock but it went in vain as the home team succumbed to their fifth straight lose.
With this win, Rajasthan zoomed to the fourth place in the point tally with 10 points from 10 matches.
Needing six runs off six balls, Deccan lost RP Singh (3), Harmeet Singh (0) and last man Rohit in three consecutive balls as their semi-final hopes went up in smoke.
Chasing 160 to win, Gilchrist (34) gave Deccan a blistering start, clobbering a six and successive fours off Watson in the second over.
Laxman (6) also tried to follow suit and slammed a four off Dole in the third over before dragging one straight to Yusuf Pathan at deep square-leg.
Gilchrist, however, blasted consecutive sixes off Dole in the fifth over but the former Australian stumper holed out to Lumb at square-leg in the very next delivery as Deccan lost their second wicket at 47 for two in 4.5 overs.
Andrew Symonds (15) and Rohit Sharma then added 39 runs from 32 balls before the former’s top-edge was caught by Faiz Faisal at extra cover off Shiddarth Trivedi.
Warne then rolled his arms and dismissed Anirudh Singh after wicketkeeper Naman Ojha took a good catch as Deccan slipped to 112 for four in 13.5 overs.
The Australian legend struck again in his next over, dismissing Dwayne Smith (4) as the home team lost half of their side for 120 in 15.3 overs.
Needing 40 runs off 27 balls, Rohit blasted three back to back boundaries in the last three balls of the 17th over to ease the pressure.
However, Warne claimed two more wickets in the next over – Azhar Bilakhia (2) and Ryan Harris (1) – to leave the Deccan struggling at 139 for seven in 17.4 overs.
Needing 15 off 11 balls, Rohit slammed a four and a six of the 19th over to bring the target down to six off six balls but they lost their remaining three wickets in the last over as the match slipped out of their hand.
Earlier, Watson stood amidst the ruins after Michael Lumb (15), Naman Ojha (1), Yusuf pathan (5), Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (11) and Abhishek Raut (0) were dismissed cheaply.
Watson played a dashing knock to anchor the Rajasthan innings but their batting capitulated as they lost first half of their side for 130 in 15.2 overs, before losing the last five wickets for just 29 runs.
Rajasthan had a dramatic start after the fourth ball of the first over saw opener Lumb (15) leave the field after Ryan Harris juggled his way to finally hold on to a return catch.
But to his dismay, the third umpire ruled Lumb not out as it was found that the ball had kissed the grass. Getting a life, Lumb picked up the first six of the day hitting Harris over long-off.
Lumb picked up two more fours in the next over off Dwayne Smith before Harris took his catch at deep midwicket off RP Singh in the third over.
One ball later, Singh struck again dismissing Naman Ojha (1) when he had him caught at cover by Harris as Rajasthan were reduced to 17 for two.
However, Faiz Faisal (36) and Watson picked up ones and twos and occasional boundaries to steady the ship with a 51-ball 77-run third wicket partnership to take Rajasthan to 94 in 11 overs.
Faisal hit four boundaries in his 29-ball innings before being sent packing by Pragyan Ojha in the 11th over.
Much was expected from Yusuf Pathan but he gave a simple catch to VVS Laxman as Harris picked up his first wicket.
Watson, however, continued his carnage at the other end and blasted a six in the 14th over off Ojha and then picked up two runs to reach his sixth IPL fifty in 29 balls.
Harmeet Singh then struck twice in the 16th over, removing Jhunjhunwala and Raut in a space of fours balls to reduce Rajasthan to 130 for six in 15.5 overs.
Running out of partners, Watson then biffed RP Singh for a boundary at deep midwicket but the Uttar Pradesh pacer bounced back in the next ball, dismissing the Australian.
Five balls later, a sharp piece of fielding by RP Singh sent skipper Shane Warne back into the hut.
Harris then came back to get rid off debutante Aditya Dole in the 19th over, while Smith cleaned up Siddharth Trivedi in the fifth ball of the last over to complete the proceedings. (PTI)