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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
A terrific team effort from Kings XI Punjab’s bowlers secured them a two-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a keenly contested encounter at the Eden Gardens. Adam Gilchrist’s men successfully defended their total of 134 thanks mainly due to Piyush Chawla and Bhargav Bhatt’s excellent spells. The Knights, struggling to get into a rhythm in IPL 2012, succumbed under pressure once again.
The Kings needed some inspiration if they were to defend their total and it came right at the outset. Paras Dogra flung to his left to send a shocked Jacques Kallis (1) packing in the second over. Gautam Gambhir showed flashes of brilliance during his quickfire innings of 22 but the KKR skipper was found wanting after he checked a drive to gift an easy return catch to Dimitri Mascarenhas. The home side found some solidity thanks to Manvinder Bisla (27) and Manoj Tiwary (20) but Bhargav Bhatt got the better of Tiwary while Bisla was cleaned up by Piyush Chawla.
The talented leggie was just beginning to get into his stride and he struck a double blow by dismissing Yusuf Pathan (0) and Shakib Al Hasan (4) in quick succession. At 88 for six, the Knights were showing signs of frailty but Debabrata Das’ innings was proving to be crucial. With nine required off the last over, Harmeet Singh bowled ten Doeschate. Das couldn’t quite get the boundary off the last ball and the Kings from Punjab got a well-deserved two-run win.
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to have a bowl on a dusty Eden Gardens wicket. The KKR skipper’s decision immediately bore fruit as off-spinner Sunil Narine dismissed Adam Gilchrist (5) and the in-form Shaun Marsh (1) in consecutive overs. The Windies spinner first induced the KXIP skipper to play a rash shot that skied up and then completely outfoxed Marsh to rattle his off-stump. At 21 for two the visitors needed to consolidate their innings and the fightback came courtesy a 52-run partnership between Mandeep Singh (38) and David Hussey (32). The right-handed duo batted prudently to keep the runs flowing, albeit at a modest rate. The Knight Riders resumed ascendancy after Shakib Al Hasan dismissed Mandeep. Hussey was the next to go after some miscommunication between him and Paras Dogra resulted in the Aussie’s run-out. The Kings, looking for quick runs, played right into the hands of the Knights as Rajat Bhatia and Narine once again pegged the visitors back; Dogra (6), Bipul Sharma (12), Dimitri Mascarenhas (0), Praveen Kumar (0) and Harmeet Singh (14) all fell to the KKR duo’s skill. Piyush Chawla’s spirited 13*, and Bhargav Bhatt’s last-ball six, helped KXIP reach a competitive total of 134 for nine in 20 overs.