A scintillating innings of 98 from Ajinkya Rahane gave the Rajasthan Royals the platform to clinch victory in their openingIndian Premier League game yesterday.
The opener made a mockery of the decision by Adam Gilchrist, the Kings XI Punjab, to field first after winning the toss, as he demolished the visiting side's attack at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore with a.
He struck 16 boundaries and one six during his 66-ball innings. The Indian had looked certain to be the first man to score a hundred in this year's tournament before being bowled by James Faulkner just two short.
A delighted Rahane said he had felt in good form going into the game.
"I was batting well even in practice games so wanted to continue. I believe in myself and if you are a good batsman, you will play well irrespective of the format," he said.
Partnerships of 77 with the Rajasthan captain Rahul Dravid (28) and 75 with Brad Hodge (21) proved to be the backbone of the innings, before some late big hitting from Kevon Cooper (11 off three balls) saw them to 191 for four - the biggest total in the competition thus far.
Gilchrist looked determined to personally atone for his error at the toss as he went after the Rajasthan bowling, clubbing two boundaries off a first over in which he scored 11 runs.
But his hopes of leading the revival were sunk when he was caught by Cooper at mid-on off the bowling of Amit Singh for 27.
Punjab lost wicketd regularly after that, with only Mandeep Singh with 34 finding form.
Cooper was the pick of the Rasjathan bowling, taking four for 26 from his four overs.
Gilchrist acknowledged he had blundered with his decision to put Rajasthan in.
He said: "We were outplayed and I got the toss wrong. Rahane played a beautiful innings and they got 20-30 runs more than what I thought we should have conceded."
Today's action begins with the Royal Challengers Bangalore taking on the Delhi Daredevils, who won their opening game against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.
Then the Chennai Super Kings, the defending champions, will look to bounce back from their opening day defeat to the Mumbai Indians when they travel to the Deccan Chargers.
Ashok Dinda’s haul of four for 17 led Pune Warriors to a 29-run victory over Mumbai Indians in their opening Indian Premier League game yesterday.
Dinda struck twice in his first over and applied the finishing touches as Mumbai could manage only 100 for nine in reply to Pune’s 129 for nine on a pitch providing assistance to both pace bowlers and spinners.
Murali Kartik, the left-arm spinner, was the other bowler to impress with two for 14, which included the early wicket of South Africa’s Richard Levi, who had been so impressive in Mumbai’s opening win over Chennai Super Kings when he had scored 50 off just 35 balls.
“The pitch was dry and I thought it would turn,” said Sourav Ganguly, the Pune captain. “It has been a good start all right, but it is a long tournament with 16 more matches to go.”
Dinda had Ambati Rayudu caught at slip by Kartik and then induced another edge to see the back of Rohit Sharma as Mumbai were reduced to five for three inside the first two overs to leave their reply in tatters.
Dinda later came back to dismiss James Franklin, who held up one end for a 42-ball 32, and the captain Harbhajan Singh for 16.
Earlier, the Mumbai pace bowlers Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel bagged two wickets apiece to help restrict Pune.
The hosts had slumped to 27 for three, but solid knocks from Steven Smith (39) and Robin Uthappa (36) had rescued the innings.
Harbhajan, the Mumbai captain, had no complaints about his side’s defeat.
“We did not rotate the strike in the middle of the innings, we did not get a good start,” he said. “All credit to Dinda and Kartik. Pune was the better side.”