Ajinkya Rahane scored 59 © IANS (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 18, 2014
Rajasthan Royals kicked off their Indian Premier League (IPL), 2014 campaign with a four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium at Abu Dhabi. It was a low-scoring encounter at Hyderabad as the teams struggled to score on a wicket that wasn’t easy for shot-making. After choosing to bowl first, Rajasthan did well to restrict Hyderabad to 133 and although they had a few nervous moments at the death, they managed to get home.
In the day game between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, runs were scored at a torrential rate. But, it was a completely different story in the evening game. With the lights coming on, the surface was much slower and shot making wasn’t easy. The wicket was still had that green tinge to it, but its nature had changed.
Sunrisers Hyderabad didn’t get going through their innings and although Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner batted together for a better part of the first 12 overs, they were hovering around a run-a-ball. In the middle, Pravin Tambe and Rajat Bhatia did a brilliant job with the ball. Taking the pace off the ball, they created problems for the batsmen.
Tambe did not pick up a wicket, but in four overs, he conceded only 23. Bhatia did an even better job with all his variations and the deceptive slower ones. Both Dhawan and Warner fell off his bowling as they holed out to the deep in an attempt to increase the scoring rate. In his four overs, he went for 22 with two wickets.
In the end, Hyderabad’s lower order was under pressure and although a few of them managed to hit a few big shots, Rajasthan did well to keep a hold of things and restrict them to 133.
Rajasthan did not start their innings well as they were dented early. Abhishek Nayar opened the batting with Ajinkya Rahane. Nayar started off with a boundary but was then trapped leg-before by Dale Steyn. Sanju Samson also did not get going and was tested by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Samson ultimately edged one in the third over. Shane Watson too did not have a long stint and Ishant Sharma had him caught behind in seventh over. At that stage, Rajasthan were only 31 for three.
Stuart Binny then joined Ajinkya Rahane and in tandem, they put up 77 in good time. While Rahane played classy strokes and anchored the innings, Binny was the more attacking one. Rahane got to his half-century in 46 balls and attacked Steyn as the game approached the death. In an attempt to finish things off early, Rahane fell when he lofted Amit Mishra to long-off for 58.
As Rajasthan got closer, they kept losing wickets. However, Binny continued and anchored the run-chase through to the last over. It was a little gem by Binny as he finished with 48 off 32 balls. James Faulkner added the finishing touches in the last over to finish the game with three balls to spare.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 133 for 6 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 38, David Warner 32; Rajast Bhatia 2 for 22) lost to Rajasthan Royals 135 for 6 in 19.3 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 59. Stuart Binny 48*; Dale Steyn 2 for 29, Amit Mishra 2 for 26) by 4 wickets.
Man of the Match: Ajinyka Rahane.