NEW DELHI: Brilliant half-centuries by Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane and sensible show by Stuart Binny in death overs helped Rajasthan beat Pune by 5 wickets in the IPL clash on Sunday.
Chasing a huge 179, Rajasthan got off to a flying start as Dravid and Rahane furstrated the visitors with their gritty show. The duo shared 98-run opening stand to lay a solid platform for the win.
Angelo Mathews gave Pune Warriors first breakthrough by dismissing Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid (58) in the 12th over.
After Dravid’s dismissal, Rahane completed his half-ton and took the side cross 100-mark.
Rahane’s innings came to an end in the 16th over with 43 still required to win. However, Binny held his nerve to take the side to the target, inflicting sevnth consecutive defeat to the Warriors.
Robin Uthappa struck a fluent half-century and shared 97-run opening stand with skipper Aaron Finch as Pune Warriors posted a challenging 178 for four.
Uthappa scored an aggressive 41-ball 54 and, together in the company of Finch, who made an equally impressive 32-ball 45 after Warriors decided to bat first at the Sawai Man Singh stadium.
Mitchell Marsh provided the late flourish with a 21-ball 35, laced with two fours and three sixes, as Pune batsmen finally came good with the bat.
For Rajasthan, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi picked up a wicket apiece.
Warriors were off to a dream start as Finch and Uthappa made full use of the field restrictions and plundered runs at will. Uthappa continued from he had left against the RCB and put on display his vast repertoire of stroke-play.
Royals skipper Rahul Dravid used as many as four bowlers inside the mandatory power-play but the move yielded no result as Finch and Uthappa went about their business in style.
The onslaught started from the third over bowled by spinner Ajit Chandila when Uthappa clobbered him for two consecutive fours followed by a hit to the leg side by Finch.
Shane Watson was brought into the attack but Uthappa showed little respect to the Australian all-rounder as he hit him for three boundaries.
Warriors raced away to 50 runs in just five overs as Royals looked for the elusive breakthrough which did not come for them in the next few overs.
Uthappa looked in ominous touch as he clobbered Stuart Binny for a huge six over long-on while Finch carted Watson for two fours in the next over as Warriors raced away to 80 for no loss at the end of first strategic time-out.
It was a treat to watch the aggressive brand of cricket put on display by Finch and Uthappa but such contributions were required from them at the first half of the tournament not when they are out of the play-off contention.
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