Royals post thrilling win
Dravid's men post five-wicket win over Pune Warriors
Ajinkya Rahane struck a scintillating 67 while Rahul Dravid produced an age-defying innings to maintain Rajasthan Royals’ impeccable ‘home’ record as the hosts defeated Pune Warriors by five wickets in a thrilling Indian Premier League match on Sunday.
The win propelled Rajasthan to fourth position in the league table with 14 points from 11
matches while Pune Warriors suffered their seventh successive loss in the tournament with no chances of them making the play-offs. By the virtue of this win, Royals also exacted a ‘sweet revenge’ on their opponents, having tasted defeat on the previous occasion when the two sides met in Pune on April 11.
The match went down to the wire as Royals lost some quick wickets after the second strategic time-out was taken but Stuart Binny’s unbeaten 13-ball 32 ensured that ‘Fort SMS’ wasn’t breached.
Royals registered their sixth win at home with one ball to spare. Chasing a challenging target of 179 runs, Rahane and Dravid (58, 40 balls, 9x4, 6x1) provided their team a solid start, adding 98 runs for the opening-wicket partnership in just 11.5 overs.
Both made short work of the Pune bowlers and enthralled a sell-out crowd at the Sawai Man Singh stadium with their vast repertoire of stroke-play.
Dravid was the more aggressive of the two as he cut and drove Pune bowlers to reach his third fifty in the tournament in just 36 balls with a straight six over long-on off spinner Rahul Sharma.
Earlier, Robin Uthappa struck a fluent half-century and shared 97-run opening stand with skipper Aaron Finch as Pune Warriors posted a challenging 178 for four in 20 overs.
Uthappa scored an aggressive 41-ball 54 and, together in the company of Finch, who made an equally impressive 32-ball 45 after Warriors decided to bat first at the Sawai Man Singh stadium.
Mitchell Marsh provided the late flourish with a 21-ball 35, laced with two fours and three sixes, as Pune batsmen finally came good with the bat.
PUNE WARRIORS: Robin Uthappa (run out) 54, Aaron Finch b Cooper 45, Yuvraj Singh c Cooper b Trivedi 15, Mitchell Marsh (not out) 35, Angelo Mathews c Rahane b Faulkner 18, Mahesh Rawat (not out) 0. Extras (W-11) 11. Total (for 4 wkts, 20 overs) 178.
Fall of wickets: 1-97, 2-124, 3-129, 4-170.
Bowling: Ajit Chandila 2-0-23-0, James Faulkner 4-0-35-1, Shane Watson 4-0-29-0, Kevon Cooper 4-0-39-1, Siddharth Trivedi 4-0-33-1, Stuart Binny 2-0-19-0.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Rahul Dravid c Marsh b Mathews 58, Ajinkya Rahane c Rahul b Bhuvneshwar 67, Shane Watson b Parnell 5, Brad Hodge c Rahul b Parnell 4, Stuart Binny (not out) 32, Sanju Samson c Birla b Parnell 10, James Faulkner (not out) 3. Extras (W-3) 3. Total (for 5 wkts, 19.5 overs) 182.
Fall of wickets: 1-98, 2-128, 3-136, 4-150, 5-175. Bowling: Bhuneshwar Kumar 4-0-38-1, K Upadhyay 3-0-29-0, Wayne Parnell 3.5-0-27-3, Rahul Sharma 4-0-38-0, Yuvraj Singh 2-0-16-0, Angelo Mathews 3-0-34-1.