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IPL: Ajinkya Rahane scores half-century to power Rajasthan Royals to victory

Abu Dhabi: James Faulkner hit back-to-back boundaries in the final over to see Rajasthan Royals home against Sunrisers Hyderabad with three balls to spare in their Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 opener at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium here on Friday.

Ajinkya Rahane’s 52-ball 59 and his 77-run stand for the fourth wicket with Stuart Binny (47 not out) had put Rajasthan on the victory path after they made heavy weather of their modest run chase of 133, losing three quick wickets early on. They were reduced to 31 for 3 before Rahane and Binny came together to do the repair work and set up a four-wicket win.

Rahane should have made sure to get Rajasthan home but, once he departed, Royals lost quick wickets to revive Hyderabad’s hopes. Rajasthan eventually needed eight runs from the last over of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Faulkner made sure to finish it with two hits.

More than 400 runs had been scored in the day’s first match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, which ended in favour of the former.

However, once the sun went down and the lights took centre stage, the same wicket simply looked unplayable. As such, Rajasthan Royals bowlers showed lot of discipline to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to 133 for six.

The surface with the greenish tinge suddenly provided plenty of assistance and Rajasthan bowlers made the most of. Dhawal Kulkarni got an early breakthrough in dismissing Aaron Finch to prevent Hyderabad from making a brisk start. Rajat Bhatia’s sensational figures of two for 22 didn’t allow Hyderabad to step up the run rate in the middle overs.

Pravin Tambe was also very effective, giving away just 23 runs. With the ball not coming on to the bat that easy, Dhawan managed 38 before falling prey to Bhatia. David Warner also could not switch to top gear, but managed a 35-ball 32 before being caught in the deep in the 14th over. Kane Richardson also got among wickets by getting rid of Darren Sammy and Karn Sharma. Had it not been for Venugopal Rao, Hyderabad would have reached 133.

A full scorecard is here.