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IPL desk in Mumbai 16 April 2012 - 12:01am IST

Report: Match 18 – RCB vs RR

Rahane’s ton puts game beyond RCB’s reach

The Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan Royal’s beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 59 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, which has been their skipper’s home for years. Ajinkya Rahane, as his first name suggests, remained unconquered on 103 as he helped RR set a formidable target for the home team. Rahane, who hit the first hundred of IPL 2012, also reclaimed the Orange Cap in the process.

After Dravid opted to bat first, Rahane, opening the innings with his role model, was a man on a mission. Only 11 runs came off the first three overs, which included a maiden from Zaheer Khan. However, the duo collected 15 off Sreenath Aravind in the fourth over, which included a six over long-on by Rahane. Gaining confidence, the youngster then hit Zaheer Khan over square-leg for his next six.

With both batsmen in sublime form, Daniel Vettori brought himself on and replaced Vinay Kumar with off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. The veteran spinners managed to put a lid on the flow of runs for a few overs during which the RCB skipper also claimed the RR captain. But Owais Shah, who replaced Dravid, joined Rahane and matched him stroke for stroke. While Rahane hit the legendary offie over long-on and into the stands, Shah struck a six over mid-wicket off Vinay in the next over.

Having exhausted three overs each of himself, Zaheer and Muralitharn, Vettori had no option but to bowl his other bowlers, and so he handed the ball to Aravind. The local pacer was hit for six boundaries off six balls by Rahane. After sending the first two deliveries past the bowler, the batsman followed it up with a scoop over the keeper. The fourth delivery was pulled over mid-wicket, while the penultimate ball of the over was driven through the covers. Rahane then finished the over off with a four to third-man.

The onslaught forced the RCB captain to bowl his final over, and although he gave away only seven runs, Chris Gayle was clobbered by Owais Shah in the next one. Shah hit the West Indian for two sixes in an over that added 21 runs to the RR total. It was then Vinay Kumar’s turn to be mauled by the batsmen in the next over. After Rahane sent the ball soaring over mid-wicket and into the stands, Shah slammed consecutive sixes and a four. There was no stopping RR as the two batsmen took on Muralitharan in the 18th over. The 23-year-old Rahane came down the track to hit Murali for a six in an over off which they plucked 17 runs.

It was a minor victory for RCB as Zaheer khan in his last over, bowled a dot ball up front and then claimed Shah (60 off 26 balls), who had hit him for a boundary before Vinay Kumarcaught him at long-on.

Rahane, who had missed out on a century by two runs in RR’s first match, was batting on 93 and facing Vinay Kumar in the last over. He reached 97 with a boundary, and a dot ball later, he reached his ton with another boundary by beating one of the best fielders, Virat Kohli at long-on. His 60-ball innings saw him hit 12 boundaries and five sixes.

Even as RR posted 195 on the board, Zaheer finished with bowling figures of 4-1-15-1. His colleagues, however, were mauled by Rahane and Shah.

Chasing 196, RCB’s Mayank Agarwal launched into the RR attack from the get-go. But he departed for 34 (three fours, three sixes). The opener’s mishit was caught safely by Shah after rising high in the sky. A ball later, Pankaj Singh dismantled Chris Gayle’s woodwork and ensured that a dropped catch earlier didn’t cost them.

A few overs later, Siddharth Trivedi claimed two wickets off two overs. He rattled AB de Villiers’ middle stump and then bowled Virat Kohli. Although he went wicket-less in his third over, the pacer castled Saurabh Tiwary in his fourth over on the trot. A couple of deliveries later he dislodged Vettori’s bails to finish with his first four-wicket haul in the IPL.

Although Johan Botha went for runs in his first spell, the three Indian pacers of RR kept the opposition on a tight leash and picked wickets at regular intervals. Botha too came back well and claimed Mohammad Kaif to leave the hosts struggling at 107 for seven.

Then, it was Amit Singh who bowled Vinay Kumar, while Brad Hogg followed up with the wicket of Zaheer Khan, who hit the ball straight to Rahane at mid-wicket. It was an apt finish as Rahane took the last catch that dismissed Muralitharan off Amit.

Scorecard


Man-of-the-Match:
Ajinkya Rahane for his blistering knock of 103 off 60 balls that helped RR put up a mighty total

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