Rahane gives winning start to Dravid reign
Ajinkya Rahane's four fours off the wily Praveen Kumar of Kings XI Punjab in just the third over said a lot about the new-look Rajasthan Royals. Khurram Habib reports. Scorecard | Picsindia Updated: Apr 07, 2012 00:03 IST
Ajinkya Rahane’s four fours off the wily Praveen Kumar in just the third over said a lot about the new-look Rajasthan Royals. When Rahul Dravid is in charge, it is always copy-book first. Rahane, who opened with Dravid, drove one to the cover fence, flicked another to square leg boundary, glanced the third to fine leg and punched the fourth straight. The Royals were away but through conventional shots.
Not many expected the stands to be near-capacity due to a lack of star players and celebrities. But when the India legend walked out to bat with its possible future, the crowd roared.
Neither India bowlers Praveen Kumar or Piyush Chawla, who went for 14 in his fourth over, or Aussie James Faulkner make an impression and bring luck to Adam Gilchrist as the openers racked up 77 runs in less than 10 overs. While Rahane raced to 98, Dravid gathered 28.
Rahane’s class showed not just in his shots, but with the way he paced it. His fifty came off just 38 balls — most of this time was spent with Dravid. Soon he was toying with the bowling, especially Chawla, and galloped to 96 over the next 23 deliveries. The Mumbaikar’s young shoulders carry a mature head.
“Initially, the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat, so Rahul bhai and I decided to play ourselves in,” he said after the innings.
By the time he was bowled trying to move away from the stumps and hit, RR had moved to 180. Kevon Cooper came and in quick time made it 191.
Kings XI Punjab had to go all out. Gilchrist went after the bowling. As long as he was there, KXIP were in the hunt.
Cooper soon took charge. Bowling at innocuous pace, the Caribbean bowler got Paul Valthaty off a full toss and snared Shaun Marsh and Abhishek Nayar to kill the chase.