Rajasthan run past Pune in thriller


Also See: Scorecard | Gallery

Jaipur: Both teams started well with the bat, but the difference between the Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors was in the finishing. That's the reason why the hosts managed to maintain their unbeaten record at home.

They went to fourth in the points table, for which they should thank their batsmen. It wasn’t a match where the winner could afford to blink.

Chasing a mammoth 179-run target, Rajasthan’s openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane played all the right shots as Aaron Finch’s bowlers began to flinch. Both right-handers knew that they had a mountain to climb, and they ensured that Pune’s bowlers were beaten to the ropes. If Dravid drove with élan, Rahane cut the ball with equal finesse as Rajasthan made sure that they were never too far behind the run rate.

84/0 after 10. The hosts were on track.

After bringing up his fifty with a six, Dravid knew that he had too continue in the same vein. He fell for 58, while trying to force the pace, with Marsh taking the catch at long off off Mathews. That said and done, he had built a solid platform for the batsmen to follow. What would Rahane & Co. do with the remaining deliveries?

Like his skipper, Rahane brought up his fifty with the ball crossing the ropes, and used the confidence to go after Angelo Mathews off the remaining deliveries. 21 runs came off the 14th over. Shane Watson (5) came and went, but it was clear that Rahane was the wicket Pune wanted.

They would get it.

Right after he sent a delivery to the midwicket fence, Rahane edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar to keeper Mahesh Rawat who took it on the bounce. However, Rajasthan’s highest scorer in the game failed to capitalize on the life, as he got down on one knee to loft the ball on the on side. Rahul Sharma put in a dive, to put the match back on an even keel.

Stuart Binny made the most of some ordinary bowling from Rahul Sharma, to help the Royals milk 14 from the over. Like Watson, Hodge played five deliveries, before falling while going for a big shot. In came baby-faced Sanju Samson. What would he do?

The youngster would hit two fours, one a cover drive and the other a deliberate edge past the keeper. 18 needed from 12. Bhuvneshwar Kumar ran in to bowl the penultimate over, and was taken for 13 off the first five deliveries, before sending in a last-ball yorker. 5 needed from 6.

Binny took a single, only to find Samson pulling the ball to Udit Birla at short midwicket. James Faulkner took two, before taking a single to bring Binny back on strike. 1 needed from 2. The Bangalorean struck a four, and went up right away. Rajasthan would win by five wickets with one ball remaining.

Not too sure if they thought, that the win would be possible after Pune took first strike with the bat.

Pune Warriors’ openers Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch made full use of the width on offer, piercing the gaps, to bring up boundaries at regular intervals. Rahul Dravid could only watch as the two Pune batsmen, drove, punched and swept their way to 50 off just the 5th over. Bowling changes followed one after the other, and Stuart Binny managed to have Uthappa caught by Ajit Chandila, only to find that the man had one foot behind the ropes, as he completed the jump.

They would move to 92/0 after 10.

Thankfully for the hosts, Aaron Finch dragged a delivery from Kevon Cooper onto his stumps. But then Yuvraj Singh made sure that Pune would continue to look beyond the boundary for their numbers. As expected, Robin Uthappa brought up a well-deserved 50 with a shot down the ground. Three balls later, Yuvraj Singh fell while taking the aerial route.

Shane Watson sent down a string of dot balls, to put the pressure on Pune. In the following over, Faulkner rapped Mitchell Marsh on the pads, and the Australian responded to Uthappa’s call for a run. Rajasthan’s wicket-keeper, young Sanju Samson picked up the ball, took a glove off, and took aim at the stumps.

He didn’t miss, and Uthappa was run out by a mile.

Mathews and Marsh ambled along before breaking free at Kevon Cooper’s expense in the penultimate over. Marsh struck a six by clearing square leg, where a fan decided that he would keep the ball. He took a single off the new ball that was brought in, before the officials manage to retrieve the original one back from the stands.

Marsh proceeded to hit the old ball down the ground for six, where his captain Aaron Finch caught the ball by getting up from his seat in the dugout. After losing Mathews in the final over, Marsh finished the innings with a great hit down the ground to power Pune to a total of 178/4.

It wouldn’t be enough.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »