CRICKET / Owais Shah smashes a 26-ball 60; Trivedi finishes with four wickets
: Ajinkya Rahane scored a stunning, unbeaten hundred, the first of the IPL's fifth season, as Rajasthan Royals eviscerated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 59 runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.
Rahane carried his bat for a sublime 60-ball-103 (12x4, 5x6), a knock brimming with self-assurance, as the visitor, batting first, racked up an imposing 195. The 23-year-old added a frenetic 121 runs (50 balls) for the second wicket with Owais Shah.
The home team's response, in comparison, was underwhelming, as it lurched to 136 all out in 19.5 overs. Pankaj Singh struck two early blows, removing Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle, while Siddharth Trivedi ripped the spine out of the side with the dismissals of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
He removed Saurabh Tiwary and Daniel Vettori in his final over to finish with figures of four for 23. Agarwal was RCB's highest scorer on the night, hitting three sixes and three fours in his 34. He provided the large Sunday crowd some early entertainment — and hope — but once the youngster fell, there was little to cheer about.
The result carried Rajasthan to the head of the table, while RCB continued to remain second from bottom.
Rahane's knock – one where neat stroke-play did not need to be ditched for aggression – was the overarching story of the first period.
Rajasthan's innings had begun acceptably — nothing too flashy — as Rahul Dravid and Rahane saw their side to 43/0 in the Powerplay overs. But Daniel Vettori and Muttiah Muralitharan came on from either end and the opening partnership soon acquired a subdued tenor.
With both bowlers at their parsimonious best, Rajasthan endured a 30-ball spell without a boundary; the stand now looked increasingly detrimental to the team's cause.
Dravid departed in the 11th over, however, stumped excellently off Vettori.
Six fours in an over!
S. Arvind (replacing Raju Bhatkal in the side), who had gone for 24 in his first two overs, came on to bowl the 14th over.
It was the period when the floodgates didn't just open, but were blown off their hinges. Rahane struck a four off each ball — two driven down the ground, two through the covers, one to fine leg, and the last one a soft late cut — to race from 48 to 72.
At the other end, Owais Shah wasn't exactly slacking off either. He tore into Gayle, tonking him around for 21 runs. Rahane raised his century with a four off Vinay in the 20th over, walking back to a chorus of cheers. Rajasthan had taken 113 runs off the last seven overs, including 82 off the final five. It was a beating RCB will want to forget in a hurry.
Rajasthan Royals: R. Dravid st. de Villiers b Vettori 25 (32b, 2x4) , A. Rahane (not out) 103 (60b, 12x4, 5x6) , O. Shah c Vinay b Zaheer 60 (26b, 5x4, 5x6) , B. Hodge (not out) 1 (2b) ; Extras (lb-1, b-4, w-1): 6; Total (for two wkts. in 20 overs): 195.
Fall of wickets: 1-62 (Dravid), 2-183 (Shah).
Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Zaheer 4-1-15-1, Arvind 3-0-48-0, Vinay 4-0-51-0, Vettori 4-0-20-1, Muralitharan 4-0-35-0, Gayle 1-0-21-0.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: M. Agarwal c Shah b Pankaj 34 (21b, 3x4, 3x6) , C. Gayle b Pankaj 8 (9b, 1x6) , V. Kohli b Trivedi 22 (18b, 2x4) , A.B. de Villiers b Trivedi 6 (9b) , S. Tiwary b Trivedi 17 (16b, 1x6) , M. Kaif c Hodge b Botha 14 (16b, 1x4) , D. Vettori b Trivedi 1 (2b) , R. Vinay Kumar b Amit 11 (9b, 1x4) , Zaheer c Rahane b Hogg 0 (3b) , S. Arvind (not out) 14 (8b, 3x4) , M. Muralitharan c Rahane b Amit 6 (8b) ; Extras (lb-1, w-2): 3; Total (in 19.5 overs): 136.
Fall of wickets: 1-42 (Agarwal), 2-42 (Gayle), 3-69 (de Villiers), 4-78 (Kohli), 5-101 (Tiwary), 6-103 (Vettori), 7-107 (Kaif), 8-116 (Vinay), 9-120 (Zaheer).
Rajasthan Royals bowling: Botha 4-0-30-1, Pankaj 4-0-18-2, Amit 3.5-0-43-2, Hogg 4-0-19-1, Trivedi 4-0-25-4.
Man-of-the-match: A. Rahane.