IPL 2013: Pune Warriors India fight back to limit Rajasthan Royals to 145

Bhuvneshwar Kumar got Pune off to a great start when he had Kusal Perera trapped in front off the first ball of the match © IANS

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Pune: Apr 11, 2013

Rajasthan Royals scored 145 against Pune Warriors India in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 encounter. Rahul Dravid helped Rajasthan to an encouraging start, but Pune’s bowlers came back to dent their charge.

Dravid won the toss and elected to bat first. Rajasthan were forced to make a few changes as Shane Watson, Rahul Shukla and Shaun Tait were out injured. In came Kusal Perera, Harmeet Singh and James Faulkner to replace them. Yuvraj Singh had missed the last game due to injury and came in place of Manish Pandey for Pune. They also swapped Marlon Samuels with Aaron Finch.

India’s new swing magician, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, got Pune off to a great start when he had Perera trapped in front off the first ball of the match. The ball pitched in the line and swung into the left-hander and the umpire had no hesitation in raising his finger.

Dravid then entered the field and stitched together a good partnership with Ajinkya Rahane. Dravid in particular was fantastic as he essayed good cricketing strokes. His trademark cover-drive was on show twice as he picked the gaps to perfection. Even Rahane played a few good strokes to the delight of the purists.

The partnership was going steady and they brought up Rajasthan’s 50 in the eighth over. The first real risks were taken in the 10th over when Rahane lofted Mitchell Marsh for four over mid-off and Dravid followed with a flick to the mid-wicket boundary. In the next over, Dravid hit Angelo Mathews high over long-on for a four. The batsmen’s intentions were very clear then.

As Rajasthan increased their run-rate, they lost Rahane in the 12th over. The Mumbai lad charged to Rahul Sharma and smashed him through the covers only to see Mathews pull off a stunner. Meanwhile, Dravid brought up his second half century of the tournament.

Stuart Binny didn’t last too long as Yuvraj had him caught at long-on in the 13th over. Rajasthan slowed down after those dismissals. Brad Hodge survived a chance as Mathews dropped one off his own bowling.

Rajasthan were jolted further as Dravid was caught brilliantly by Ross Taylor in the 15th over. Yuvraj dragged the length back and Dravid went on the backfoot to smash it through the covers. Taylor stuck one hand out and pulled off a blinder.

The wicket-keeper Dishant Yagnik announced his arrival with a late cut that went to the boundary. He followed it up with an audacious reverse sweep that also crossed the ropes. His short stay came to an end as he tried to be too inventive. Attempting a scoop off Sharma, Yagnik only managed to give short-third man an easy catch.

Yuvraj and Sharma had done an exceptional job to peg back Rajasthan. Yuvraj finished his spell with two for 27 and Sharma ended up with two for 16.

Rajasthan were losing their way after an encouraging start and needed a Hodge special to set a good total. The first six in the match came up in the 18th over as Faulkner lofted Bhuvneshwar high over long-on. Rajasthan were getting a move on in that over as Hodge smashed the final delivery through the off-side for four.

A few good boundaries by Hodge in the final overs saw Rajasthan to 145. It isn’t a big total, but Pune’s batsmen need to get their act together.

Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 145 for 5 in 20 overs (Rahul Dravid 54, Ajinkya Rahane 30; Rahul Sharma 2 for 16, Yuvraj Singh 2 for 27) vs Pune Warriors India.

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