Mumbai: Opener Shane Watson's belligerent 104 not out powered Rajasthan Royals to a formidable 199 for six in their must-win IPL cricket match against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders at the Brabourne Stadium here on Saturday.
The burly Australian smashed five sixes and struck nine fours in his 59 ball blitz - the fourth hundred of this season - besides putting on a rollicking opening stand of 80 with Ajinkya Rahane (37).
Watson went on undeterred at the other end though he lost his partners regularly to remain unconquered after joining AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle (both Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Brendon McCullum (Chennai Super Kings) in the century-makers list of season 8.
Andre Russell was the Knight Riders' most impressive bowler on view as he put the brakes first and then picked up 3 for 32. The most expensive was Azhar Mehmood (0-41 in his 3 overs), a surprise inclusion for this do-or-die game after not figuring in a single match earlier.
Royals got off to a real flyer after opting to bat first by racing to their fifty in just five overs with openers Rahane and Watson in punishing mood.
Watson set the tone in the opening over by flicking Mehmood for a couple of fours.
Rahane picked up the cue at the other end by slashing Morne Morkel over point for a stunning six after glancing him fine for a boundary.
And in the last powerplay over, bowled by left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, Watson cut loose with a pulled four and a lofted straight six to help Royals end up with an impressive 66 for no loss after six overs.
Rahane punished Mehmood's no-ball with a six over long on off the free-hit that he got and then square cut the bowler for a four when Knight Riders received a slice of luck. Rahane was run out at the non-striker's end after being sent back by Watson when attempting a second run to deep extra cover.
The 100 came up in 9.2 overs and Watson completed his fifth off 31 balls in the same over at the end of which the Royals were 107 for 1. Captain Steve Smith departed, caught off a high full toss from Russell for 14 after adding 30 with Watson.
The West Indian all-rounder arrested the run-rate and also dismissed Sanju Samson and big-hitting James Faulkner cheaply to leave Royals at 140 for 4 in the 15th over. But Mehmood was hit for a six and two fours in the 17th over by Watson to undo the splendid work of Russell.
The last five overs swelled Royals' kitty by 53 runs.