Rahane's ton a Royal gift for skipper Dravid
The opener and Owais Shah's blitz seals victory for Rajasthan Royals over Challengers. Amol Karhadkar reports. Scorecard | All fours record | They did it before | Crowd returns to ChinnaswamyUpdated: Apr 16, 2012 01:34 IST
It requires a special effort for a team to blast 113 runs in the last seven overs. And a clinical assault waged by Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah, the top two scorers of the IPL V, pushed Rajasthan Royals, at one point looking to reach the 150-run mark, almost to 200 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
In a great homecoming for skipper Rahul Dravid, his team ended up plundering 195 for two and took the game away from the hosts, yet to recover from a late mauling by the Chennai Super Kings.
And the man who from whom Dravid is the role model, Ajinkya Rahane, led the way, smashing the first century of this season with perfect cricketing shots mixed with some of brute power and a few lucky ones, like a top-edge off Zaheer Khan that flew over square leg for six.
The result was an unbeaten 60-ball 103.
Still, with the scoreboard reading 82 for one after the 13th over, the Royals were far from being on course to put up an imposing total. Then came the game-changing over. Each one of the six balls bowled by Sreenath Arvind, included as a fifth specialist bowler, were dispatched to the boundary by the in-form Rahane.
The first two were despatched behind the left-arm seamer on the off-side, next one was pulled to fine-leg, a slower one was picked early next up and dispatched straight before a classic cover drive and a nudge past third man made it a perfect 24.With those six sweet strokes, Rahane had raced from 48 to 72 in one over. England batsman Shah took the cue by waging an assault on Chris Gayle and R Vinay Kumar in the 16th and 17th overs respectively. When Shah perished in the penultimate over, Rahane had just entered the 90s.
The Mumbai batsman, who was dismissed for 98 in the team's opener against Kings XI Punjab, ensured he did not miss out this time around. A tennis-ball slog off Vinay in the last over sailed over Virat Kohli's head for a one-bounce boundary.
If the RCB were to have any hopes of staying in the hunt, openers Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle had to get off the blocks quickly. And just as the duo were looking dangerous, Pankaj Singh, playing his first game of the season, got rid of both in the same over to put an end to the home team's charge.
First Published: Apr 15, 2012 20:28 IST