Rajasthan Royals 182-5 (Rahane 67) beat
Pune Warriors 178-4 (Uthappa 54) by 5 wickets
Indian Premier League 2013, Jaipur
Report by Chetan Narula
Rajasthan Royals continued their unbeaten streak at home, spanking Pune Warriors by five wickets in a high-scoring match at Jaipur. It kept the Royals in contention for a knock-out spot, with 14 points from eleven games. The Warriors, already knocked out, continue to languish in last spot with only four points from twelve games.
Pune Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first, making full use of the good batting surface. Skipper Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa continued their form at the top, putting only 97 runs in 65 balls. They hit fifteen boundaries and one six between them, with Uthappa topscoring with 54 off 41 balls. Finch was first out though, bowled by Kevon Cooper, after scoring 45 runs off 32 balls. Yuvraj Singh (11) was sent up the order but that move didn’t work out. It was a double blow as Uthappa was run-out five runs later, leaving Pune at 129 for three in the 16th over.
It was just about par at that stage but Mitchell Marsh smacked a quick-fire 35 off 21 balls, with two fours and three sixes, to provide a final boost to the total. Alongwith Angelo Mathews (18), he put on 40 runs in 26 balls to take Pune to 178 for four in their allotted twenty overs. James Faulkner (1-35), Kevon Cooper (1-39) and Siddharth Trivedi (1-33) were the wicket-takers.
It was a tall chase and Rajasthan needed a lot of effort from the word go. And their openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane didn’t disappoint, replying to Pune’s opening stand with a 98-run partnership of their own. Both of them crossed fifties and made sure that the latter batsmen had a great platform to push for the win. Dravid scored 58 runs off 40 balls, hitting nine fours and one six, with Rahane outscoring him with some clean hits to the fence. Rahane pedalled the chase forward with 67 runs off 48 balls, hitting six fours and two fours.
But once Dravid got out in the 12th over, the chase lost steam with Shane Watson (5) and Brad Hodge (4). In between Rahane fell in the 16th over and the Royals were trailing now, with the score at 150 for four in 17.1 overs. There was one more turning point to come though, in the form of Stuart Binny who smacked 32 runs off 13 balls, hitting two fours and two sixes, turning the match in the hosts’ favour.
This final push was enough to take the game into the last over, with five needed off six balls, and despite the loss of Sanju Samson (10), they crossed the finish line with a ball to spare. Wayne Parnell (3-27), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-38) and Angelo Mathews (1-34) were the wicket-takers, yet couldn’t bowl well enough to defend a tall score.
© Cricket World 2013
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