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Rahane guides Royals closer to playoff berth

Ajinkya Rahane scored an unbeaten half century to help Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets and inch closer to securing a play-off berth in the ongoing Indian T20 League in Mohali today, reports Kaushik Chatterji. Scorecard

india Updated: May 10, 2013 00:32 IST
Kaushik Chatterji
Kaushik Chatterji
Hindustan Times

Purists would, of course, disagree vehemently. But those who limit themselves to a diet of its slam-bang version can be forgiven for refusing to associate the moniker of gentleman's game with cricket. After all, watching players on the field lose it during a T20 match is not uncommon.

And in the heat of the moment, even the coolest head can get caught up, often inadvertently, in the tussle.

All Rahul Dravid was trying to do at the Eden last week was to calm down teammate Shane Watson and KKR openers Manvinder Bisla and Gautam Gambhir. What the Royals skipper got were heated words from his opponents, to which he could only respond with a bemused — and somewhat angry — expression. And then, a smile befitting the thorough gentleman that he is reputed to be.

Cool head
Early on in the Royals’ match against the Kings XI Punjab here on Thursday, Dravid’s composure was once again called into play. And once again, the incident involved Watto. Shaun Marsh tapped Ajit Chandila to the Aussie at mid-on, whose throw caught non-striker Adam Gilchrist — the KXIP skipper opting to play after three games — off guard and out of the crease. The ricochet went to the bowler, who whipped the bails off and appealed. With Gilly on the verge of letting Chandila have it, in stepped Dravid. Giving no reason for the Mohali crowd to boo him — unlike Virat Kohli at the Wankhede last month — he was quick to withdraw the appeal, before patting his fellow quadragenarian.

Not at his best
Gilchrist went on to score a 32-ball 42, but he clearly was not at his best — a straight punch off Sreesanth caught the bottom of his bat, and the first of his two successive boundaries down to third man off James Faulkner was not intentional. Finally, he gave a simple return catch to Kevon Cooper. Towards the end of the innings, Dravid ended up doing a Kohli. On Monday night, the RCB skipper had grassed a David Miller sitter; on Thursday, Dravid did the same to a Marsh skier.

However, unlike Kohli’s drop, this one did not matter much, Marsh adding just two more runs before falling for 75, cleaned up by Cooper, who ended his spell by doing the same to Miller.

Chasing 146 on a slow pitch that was improving as the match progressed was not going to be much of a challenge, something Dravid predicted at the toss.

He fell early, uncharacteristically beaten in flight by Bipul Sharma, but Ajinkya Rahane dropped anchor for the third match in a row since not being picked in the Champions Trophy squad, and completed a hat-trick of half-centuries, pushing RR closer to the playoffs.

First Published: May 09, 2013 16:05 IST