Rajasthan Royals came back to winning ways with a thrilling five-wicket win over Pune Warriors India at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Batting first, PWI posted a mammoth 178, which RR overhauled on the back of half-centuries by Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid. The hosts chased down the total with a ball to spare.
Chasing 179, Rahul Dravid got RR rolling with two gorgeous shots through covers off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The RR skipper followed it up with two more boundaries off Kumar in the third over. Ajinkya Rahane joined the party as he smashed Krishnakant Upadhyay for a six and a boundary. RR made the most of the field restrictions as they accumulated 53 from their power play overs. At the halfway stage, RR were 84 for no loss, still needing 95.
Dravid brought up his fifty with a six off Rahul Sharma. Angelo Mathews got PWI their first breakthrough having Dravid (58) caught by Mitchell Marsh at long off. Rahane continued his assault as RR took 21 runs from Mathews in the 14th over. RR suffered a setback of sorts as Wayne Parnell saw the back of the dangerous Shane Watson (5).
Rahane got to his half-century in style, depositing Mathews for a six over extra cover. Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought his team back into the contest when he had Rahane (67) caught by Sharma in the 16th over. Stuart Binny then hit a boundary and a six off Sharma before Parnell had Brad Hodge (4) caught by Kumar. Sanju Vishwanadh hit consecutive boundaries off Parnell to reduce the equation to 18 from 12 balls. Yuvraj Singh put down a difficult opportunity of Binny (32*) in the 19th over and that opportunity cost PWI the match as Binny launched Kumar for a six and eventually hit the winning hit.
Earlier PWI won the toss and opted to bat. Openers, Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch started positively with three boundaries off Ajit Chandila in the third over. Uthappa then smashed three boundaries off Watson. Runs continued to flow fast as PWI made 61 from their Power Play overs. Uthappa launched Stuart Binny over the fence in the 8th over.
Kevon Cooper finally got the breakthrough, sending Finch's (45) stump cart-wheeling. Yuvraj Singh who looked in a dangerous mood dispatched Binny for a boundary and a six in the 13th over. Uthappa smashed two boundaries off Siddharth Trivedi but Trivedi came back well to have Yuvraj (15) caught by Cooper. Uthappa's (54) innings came to an end when Vishwanadh ran him out. Marsh deposited Cooper for two maximums in the 19thover. Mathews (18) fell in pursuit of runs off Faulkner. Marsh (35*) hit the final ball for a six as PWI finished at 178 for 4.
Man-of-the-Match: Ajinkya Rahane
Brief Scores: Pune Warriors India 178 for 4 (Robin Uthappa 54, Siddharth Trivedi 1-33) lost to Rajasthan Royals 182 for 5 in 19.5 over (Ajinkya Rahane 67, Wayne Parnell 3-23) by 5 wickets.
3: Number of times both openers have scored fifties together for Rajasthan Royals. Graeme Smith and Swapnil Asnodkar (vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Jaipur, 2008); Naman Ojha and Graeme Smith (vs Kings XI Punjab, Durban, 2009) provided the other two such instances.
5: Number of fifty stands put on by the pair of Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch in IPL 2013 – most by an opening pair.
7: Number of consecutive matches lost by Pune Warriors India. They had lost 11 in a row (an IPL record) between 2012 and 2013; and also seven in a row in 2011 edition.
10: Rahul Dravid became tenth batsman to aggregate 2000 runs in IPL.
25: Number of boundaries in Pune Warriors India’s innings (20 fours and 5 sixes). Most conceded by Rajasthan Royals in a match at Jaipur.
97: Runs added by Uthappa and Finch – Pune Warriors’ highest opening partnership in IPL. It is also their highest partnership for any wicket in IPL 2013.
100: Percent – Rajasthan Royals’ win-record at Jaipur in IPL2013 – six wins out of six.
182: Rajasthan Royals’ total – second highest successful chase at Jaipur after Rajasthan Royals’ 197 for five against Deccan Chargers in 2012.
Quotes from the presentation
"Been the story of a few of our games," says Aaron Finch. "We played well. There were maybe a couple of overs we could have done better. Disappointing to get so close again, and lose out, but that seems to be the story so far. We couldn't take the wickets in the middle overs."
"It was a really good game," says Rahul Dravid. "We came back with the ball really well. At one point, 200 looked possible, but pulled them back. It's a good cricket wicket. There is something in it for the bowlers, but if you play well you can play your shots. 360 degrees. Good to see the youngsters finish it off in the end. Just the way everyone constructed it. Nut every day do you chase 180 without Watson and Hodge contributing big time.."
"180 was not easy to chase," says Ajinkya Rahane, the Man of the Match. "But overall everyone did well. Especially our bowlers came back,a dn I think they were 10-15 short. We just wanted to play cricketing shots, our normal game. I was disappointed to get when I did, but Stuart and Sanju did really well."