Jaipur: Apr 6, 2012
Ajinkya Rahane scored a blistering 98 to power Rajasthan Royals to a mammoth 191 for four against Kings XI Punjab in their opening match of the Indian Premier League season five on Friday.
Rahane turned out to be the cynosure of all eyes at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here, scoring his 98 runs off just 66 balls with the help of 16 boundaries and a lone six.
Just when was set for the first century of IPL V, Rahane was bowled by James Faulkner (2/41) in the final over of the innings two runs short of the magical three-figure mark.
Put into bat, captain Rahul Dravid ()28 off 24) and Rahane gave a flying start to Rajasthan’s innings, sharing 77 runs for the opening stand that came off just 57 balls.
After a quiet first over, Rahane broke the shakles with two consecutive boundaries off Faulkner in the next.
Rahane then clobbered Praveen Kumar for four fours to pick up 16 runs of the bowler’s second over.
Dravid, on the other hand, played sensibly with ones and twos but hit boundaries when opportunities came his way.
After toiling hard for 9.3 overs, Kings XI finally managed to get the breakthrough when Dravid was dimissed by Harmeet Singh (1/23), caught by Faulkner at the cover boundary as he tried to slap one over the in-field.
Rahane soon brought up his fifty in style off just 37 balls, hitting Piyush Chawla (1/33) straight over his head in the 10th over.
The visitors, however, tasted another success in the same over when Ashok Maneria was castled by Chawla for a duck.
But the two quick dismissals had no effect on Rahane, who went about his business in style, and struck two boundaries and a six to pick up 16 runs from Paul Valthaty’s only over.
Rahane was in ominous mood today as he played delightful strokes on all sides of the wicket and did not spare a single Kings XI bowler.
Chawla once again came under Rahane’s fury when the right-hander smashed the leg-spinner for three consecutive fours in the 17th over.
Brad Hodge also played his part with a 16-ball 21-run knock before he was bowled by Faulkner.
Owais Shah (14 not out off 8) and West Indian Kevon Cooper (11 not out off 3) also played little cameos towards the end.
Brief Scores: RR 191 for 4 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 98, Rahul Dravid 28, Brad Hodge 21; James Faulkner 2 for 41) vs KXIP