Ajinkya Rahane © PTI (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 29, 2014
Ajinkya Rahane‘s innings of 72 helped Rajasthan Royals record a competitive 152 for five in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Shane Watson won the toss and elected to bat. Considering recent history, it was a sound ploy given the fact that chasing under lights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium is no easy task. And for a major part of the innings, run-scoring did not look easy.
Early in the innings, Kolkata had a hold over Rajasthan. In the third over, Karun Nair tried to charge to his Karnataka teammate Vinay Kumar and was bowled. Sanju Samson came in with the stage set and he did dazzle when he picked four boundaries off the sixth over bowled by Morne Morkel. Samson started off by smashing one down the ground, then flicked one through fine-leg, top-edged a pull and finished the over with a well-timed flick through mid-wicket.
However, Samson’s blazing knock was short-lived. In the ninth over, Shakib Al Hasan hurried one onto him. Samson went back, but it took his body and went onto the stumps. That brought Watson to the middle and in the next seven and a half overs, he added 64 with Rahane.
For a major part of the innings, Rahane went almost unnoticed. He was hovering about the run-a-ball mark and was holding the innings together. It was Samson’s burst and later Watson’s boundary spree against Piyush Chawla in the fourteenth over that majorly stole the show. It was only in the 16th over that Rahane got going as he got to his half-century and then smashed Vinay Kumar for a six over mid-wicket. However, in the same over, Watson was run-out for 33 as he misjudged the second run and was found wanting.
Stuart Binny had a short stay as Rahane began to accelerate. Binny was dismissed first ball when he edged one from Morne Morkel. That brought Steven Smith to the centre and his brave running, Rajasthan were able to increase their scoring rate a touch. Rahane was finding the occasional boundary, playing Sunil Narine very well through the innings. He was dismissed in the last over for 72 off 58. In the last four overs, Rajasthan scored 34 runs.
Rajasthan Royals 152 for 5 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 72, Shane Watson 33; R Vinay Kumar 1 for 30, Morne Morkel 1 for 40, Shakib Al Hasan 1 for 23) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)