Jaipur, Apr 24 : Shane Warne led from the front with a three-wicket haul as Rajasthan Royals notched up an easy eight-wicket victory over Kochi Tuskers Kerela to bring their campaign back on track in the Indian Premier League here today.
Warne's decision to bowl first was vindicated as his bowlers responded to the captain's call to skittle out the Kochi outfit for a paltry 109 in 20 overs at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here.
Shane Watson (49) and Rahul Dravid (44) then came back to set the foundation of their runchase, while Johan Botha (14) and Ross Taylor (2) finished off the game as the Royals reached 111 for two with 5.5 overs to spare.
Rajasthan's third win in seven matches snapped Kochi's three-game winning streak and also helped them to jump to the second place in the points table.
Earlier, Warne (3/16) removed Brad Hodge, Parthiv Patel and Ravindra Jadeja and was ably supported by Siddharth Trivedi (3/19), Johan Botha (1/19) and Amit Singh (1/26) to set up the win for the Rajasthan outfit.
Watson started the runchase with a boundary at point on the first ball of the innings, while Dravid too joined in with a classic on-drive off Vinay Kumar in the next over.
The former India skipper picked up two more boundaries, top-eding Vinay in the fifth over and then whipping Murali Muralitharan past mid-on in the next over as Watson played the second fiddle.
Watson, who was dropped by Ravindra Jadeja on his own bowling in the eighth over, brought up his second four off Raiphi Gomez when he clobbered him down the ground across the long-on boundary.
In the 10th over, Dravid and Watson picked up Jadeja for special treatment, blasting the spinner for a six and four respectively.But the Indian run himself out in the next over, looking for an unnecessary second run after pushing the ball to the third man in the 11th over.
Watson then took the onus on himself and amassed 16 runs off Muralitharan, which included two sixes, before picking two more fours off Jadeja to take Rajasthan on the threshold of victory.
But the Australian missed his half-century by a whisker after being cleaned up by Jadeja in the fifth ball of the over, which he tried to work towards the leg side, only to see his leg-stump shattered.
However, it was too late as Botha sealed the victory for Rajasthan with a reverse-sweep four in the first ball of the next over off Muralitharan.Earlier, the Tuskers batsmen never looked in control during the entire period as Royals kept applying the pressure. Brendon McCullum's absence was badly felt.
With McCullum opting to rest due to a niggle, VVS Laxman (8) was back in the team opening with skipper Mahela Jayawardene. The Hyderabadi stylist however looked totally out of sync during his 10-ball stay at the crease. His innings was cut short when he failed to make his ground with Rahul Dravid's direct throw hitting the stumps.
Tuskers skipper Mahela Jayawardene also looked scratchy on the slowish track although he hit Amit Singh and Shane Watson for a boundary each.
It was comeback man Johan Botha who got the lucky break for the Royals when Jayawardene (13) shuffled across as the offie fired one down the leg-side. The ball hit Jayawardene pads and then hit the leg-stump.
Brad Hodge (8) also didn't last long as skipper Warne sent him back with a delivery that kept low and was dragged back onto the stumps.
At 42 for three, Parthiv Patel (32) and Ravindra Jadeja (22) joined hands to add 48 runs for the fourth wicket. However the slow nature of the track backed up by some disciplined bowling didn't allow the duo to up the ante.
Just after the strategic time-out, skipper Warne got into the act dismissing Jadeja and Parthiv off successive balls. Jadeja tried an ugly hoick which Warne caught himself while Parthiv went for a needless sweep shot that saw glovesman Dishant Yagnik whip the bails off in a flash.
In the very next over it was Siddharth Trivedi who accounted for Raiphi Gomez (0) and Thisara Perera (1) as Tuskers slumped 92 for seven having lost four wickets with addition of only two runs.
Raiphi tried to hoist Trivedi over long-on off the very first ball he faced only to be holed out by Watson. Thisara sensing the need for quick runs also tried the aerial route only to be caught by Binny in the deep.Six runs later, Vinay Kumar (4) returned to the pavilion as he tried to hit through the third-man off Amit Singh. Watson fielding at short third-man held on to a simple catch.PTI