Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid masterclass inspires Rajasthan Royals to thrilling five-wicket victory

Ajinkya Rahane played a defining innings of 67 from

By Prakash Govindasreenivasan

Jaipur: May 5, 2013
 
Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid turned back the clocks as his repertoire of text book shots and Ajinkya Rahane’s delightful strokeplay set the tone for Rajasthan’s five-wicket victory over the Pune Warriors India. This win puts Rajasthan Royals in the fourth spot in the points table, nudging Sunrisers Hyderabad to fifth place.

Dravid and Rahane opened the batting and put on a stellar show in their steep chase of 179. They added 98 for the first wicket off just 71 deliveries.
 
Dravid started on a positive with two boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar — both through cover-point region — in the first over. He showed great intent as he set about decimating the Pune bowlers with his amazing strokeplay. His knock of 54 saw him hit as many as nine boundaries and a six straight back over the bowler’s head that brought up his half-century. His brutal knock gift wrapped in elegance was brought to an end in the 11th over when he holed one out to Mitchell Marsh at long-off.

While Dravid went about reveling in his role as a T20 batsman, he was wonderfully supported by Rahane. After Dravid’s departure, Rahane played the role of the sheet anchor to guide Rajasthan to an all-important win at Jaipur.

After Dravid’s wicket, Rahane was joined by the in-form Shane Watson with the home side still needing 81 off 49 deliveries. The duo kept the run rate high and added 30 runs off the next three overs before Watson tried to cut a ball to close to him and ended up playing it onto his stumps. At this stage, the score was 128 for two in the 15th over.

Needing 51 off five overs, Rahane went for a big shot and top-edged a delivery for Rahul Sharma to take a good catch at midwicket to bring Pune Warriors back into the side. Rahane departed for a well-made 67 off just 48 deliveries. But his departure brought Stuart Binny to the middle who played a match-winning cameo of 32 off just 13 deliveries.

The home side needed 29 runs to win from the last three overs with Brad Hodge and Binny in the middle. Wayne Parnell, who had conceded just eight runs in his previous two overs, was brought back and he struck right away. Hodge slammed a full toss straight down Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s throat. There was a confusion over the ball being above waist height but the third umpire confirmed that as a wicket.

The young Sanju Samson came out  with 28 required from 17 deliveries and slammed two boundaries to ease the pressure. The first one was a wonderful shot through covers while the second flew past the keeper and beat the third man fielder. Samson and Binny managed 11 runs off the over.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar ran in to bowl the penultimate over with Rajasthan needing 18 runs from the last 12 deliveries. He almost struck in the first ball as Yuvraj Singh came close to pulling off a stunning catch at point. Good fielding in the deep saved a crucial run for the Pune Warriors but brought down the equation to 13 off 10 balls. Samson tried to play a cheeky shot over third man but the ball was too full for him to connect.

However, the batsmen stole a single to bring Binny back on strike. Binny struck a powerful six off the middle of the bat to bring the required rate below run-a-ball for the first time in the match. A lovely delivery under pressure meant Rajasthan needed five runs to win from the last over. 

There was a twist in the tale as Parnell dismissed Samson in the second delivery off the last over, with Rajasthan still needing four runs from four deliveries. In the end, Rajasthan finished it with one ball to spare.

Read first innings report here.

Brief scores:

Pune Warriors India 178 for 4 in 20 overs  (Robin Uthappa 54, Aaron Finch 45; James Faulkner 1 for 35) lost to Rajasthan Royals 182 for 5 in 19.5 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 67, Rahul Dravid 58; Wayne Parnell 3 for 27 ) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Ajinkya Rahane

Full Scorecard

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