PUNE: On the day three of the Indian Premier League (IPL 8), former champions Rajasthan Royals on Friday beat the last year’s runners up Kings XI Punjab by 26 runs in a preliminary round match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Chasing a target of 163 runs to win, Kings XI Punjab only managed to reach 136/8 in 20 overs and lost the match by 26 runs against Rajasthan Royals.

James Faulkner, Australia’s World Cup hero, was the Royals’ star as he hit 46 runs and also took 3/26 in four overs.

Virender Sehwag was out at zero in the first ball of their innings edging a Tim Southee delivery to the wicketkeeper.

Rajasthan Royals posted 162/7 against Kings XI Punjab in 20 overs. Faulkner was the best run scorer for the Rajasthan Royals while pacer Anureet Singh (3/23) was the pick of the Punjab bowlers.

Kings XI Punjab captain, Australian George Bailey, won the toss and invited Royals to bat first.

His judgement was justified by his team’s bowlers as they struck as early as in the second over when pacer Anureet dismissed India batsman Ajinkya Rahane for zero.

Rajasthan Royals were unable to get over the early jolt and kept losing wicket at regular intervals. Skipper Australian Steven Smith, who scored 33, put up some resistance but his compatriot pacer Mitchell Johnson struck twice in the 11th over to seize the initiative and reduce Royals to 75/5 in 10.4 overs.

But, the partnership of Deepak Hooda (30) and Faulkner resurrected their innings and helped them to post good score.

Before the match started, the players, match officials and the commentators paid tributes to the legendary former Australia captain and commentator Richie Benaud who died at the age of 84 after battling with skin cancer.

(With IANS Inputs)

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