James Faulkner has been in prime form with bat and ball for Australia and Rajasthan Royals. Pawan Singh / The National
James Faulkner has been in prime form with bat and ball for Australia and Rajasthan Royals. Pawan Singh / The National

IPL round-up: Punjab blighted by James Faulkner’s all-round show



Rajasthan 162-7, 20 ov (Faulkner 46, Smith 33, Hooda 30; Anureet 3-23, Johnson 2-34)

Punjab 136-8, 20 ov (Vijay 37, Bailey 24, Axar 24; Faulkner 3-26, Southee 2-36)

James Faulkner continued from where he left off in the cricket World Cup last month when the Australia all-rounder scored a quickfire 46 and took three wickets as Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by 36 runs on Friday night.

After being sent in by Punjab, the Royals got off to a poor start, losing their first three wickets for just 35. But Steve Smith, another Australian in fine form, repaired some of the damage as he scored a patient 33. Standing in for captain Shane Watson, Smith set the tempo for teammates Deepak Hooda and Faulkner as they posted a competitive 162 for seven in their 20 overs.

Tim Southee, the fast bowler who performed brilliantly for New Zealand at the World Cup, gave Rajasthan the inroads they needed before Faulkner ran in to finish the job.

The left-arm seamer sent the dangerous Glenn Maxwell, captain George Bailey and Mitchell Johnson – all Australians – back to the pavilion, by which time it was game over for the Kings XI.

Rajasthan player reports approach to fix match

Meanwhile, a Rajasthan Royals player in India’s lucrative domestic cricket league was offered money to influence a game last month but reported the approach to the country’s board, the team said on Friday.

The player, who was not named, was offered money by a state teammate if he followed a “pre-decided pattern of play”, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

Confirming the approach, the Rajasthan franchise said the player immediately reported the incident to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

“Over a month ago, a player from Rajasthan Royals was approached inappropriately by a player (who was not part of the IPL) in connection with the Indian Premier League 2015 matches,” Rajasthan chief executive Raghu Iyer said in a statement.

“Rajasthan Royals commends the player for having reported this incident immediately and for his honesty and uprightness. His dedication to maintain the highest standards of integrity needs to be lauded.”

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur confirmed the player had informed the anti-corruption unit about the incident.

“A player was approached and he immediately intimated BCCI anti-corruption unit. Glad that BCCI education policy showing positive results,” Thakur said on Twitter. “Players are alert and they know what is to be done due to our regular education efforts.”

Rajasthan are all too aware about the threat of match-fixing after former India paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested in 2013 on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs.

Sreesanth, who denied any wrongdoing, was subsequently banned for life by the BCCI.

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