Taylor steers Royals home
Jaipur - Ross Taylor hit 47 not out to guide the Rajasthan Royals to a six-wicket victory over the Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League on Sunday with three balls to spare.
New Zealander Taylor smashed four boundaries and two sixes and put on 52 for the unbroken fifth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane (15 not out) to help the Royals win their third successive match in the Twenty20 tournament.
The Royals finished at 144-4 after restricting the Warriors, who lost their sixth straight match in the 10-team league, to 143-7 in their allotted 20 overs.
"Fantastic win for us," Royals captain Shane Warne said. "We have a good environment in our team, not a tight leash but a very open leash and it helps the youngsters."
Robin Uthappa (35) and Manish Pandey (30) got Warriors off to a good start after the visitors were put in to bat. But the misfiring middle-order wobbled once Warne dismissed Uthappa caught behind while attempting to reverse-sweep the leg-spinner.
Yuvraj Singh was run out for 7 and pacer Siddharth Trivedi grabbed two wickets to apply the brakes on the Warriors.
In reply, leg-spinner Rahul Sharma caught and bowled Rahul Dravid for 18 and trapped Johan Botha leg before wicket for 12 as the Royals stumbled to to 59-3 after 10.1 overs.
But Taylor turned it around, first putting on 33 for the fourth wicket with Ashok Menaria (29) and easing the pressure with 16 off left-arm spinner Murali Kartik that included two fours and a six.
"It is good to come to a new franchise and get a Man of the Match in a win," said Taylor, who previously played for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Rajasthan Royals 144-4 in 19.3 overs (Ross Taylor 47 not out, Rahul Sharma 3-13) def. Pune Warriors 143-7 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 35, Siddharth Trivedi 2-28).