Rahane fifty powers RR to win over SRH
Visakhapatnam: Riding on Ajinkya Rahane’s fifty Rajasthan Royals beat SunRisers Hyderabad by 6 wickets to notch up their fourth consecutive win in this edition of the IPL cricket tournament here today.
Chasing a modest 128 for a win, the table-toppers made heavy weather of the run chase, achieving the target on the last delivery of the match.
The SRH bowlers did well to take the match thus far but Rahane’s 56-ball 62 proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Man-of-the-match Rahane, who registered his first half-century of the this season, and Sanju Samson (26) worked well for their 64-run opening stand before a few wickets made the match exciting in the end.
A chance for SRH came in the seventh over when Samson clubbed the ball in the mid-off region but the skier was floored by Ashish Reddy after the fielder got to the ball by making good ground but failed to pouch it. The unlucky bowler was Praveen Kumar.
But come the 11th over and Ravi Bopara was more than lucky as wicketkeeper Naman Ojha came up with a brilliant diving catch to send back Samson back in the dug out to give SRH some hope.
The wicket did dry up the flow of runs for the visitors, but the lack of runs on the board helped their cause as Rahane stayed on with skipper Steven Smith (13) to bring them closer to a win.
Smith (135 in 4 matches), who was overtaken by opposition captain David Warner (131 in 3 matches) in the first innings, edged out the Australian in the run-scorers list but Rahane (155) it was who surpassed the two to wear the Orange Cap.
Smith though was done in by leg-spinner Karn Sharma in the 14th over and Bopara struck for the second time in the very next over to get Karun Nair (1) caught and bowled.
Rahane, whose knock was lace with 9 boundaries, couldn’t enjoy taking the team to the finish line as Trent Boult got the top-scorer clean bowled in the 19th over.
Needing 5 to defend of the final 6 deliveries, Kumar bowled well but James Faulkner (6 not out) hit the winning four off the final ball. Stuart Binny did well to stay unbeaten on 16.
Earlier, backing Smith’s decision to field first on a slowish track, RR bowlers Dhawal Kulkarni and Pravin Tambe picked up two wickets each to restrict SRH to 127 for five in 20 overs.
SRH did not have the best of starts after losing their top four batsmen for just 35 runs but a 52-run fourth wicket partnership between Ojha (25) and Eoin Morgan (27) did put a stop to the wicket-fall though only for a while.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan was the first to go after being caught behind off Dhawal Kulkarni (2-9) post a scratchy 10-run stay at the crease.
Warner (21) was unlucky after Rahane ended the in-form openers blitz in the middle with a direct throw to run him out.
Kulkarni kept the good work going after trapping Lokesh Rahul LBW for 2 as SRH looked wobbly on their second home ground.
SRH nearly lost another wicket in the 11th over when Ojha mistimed a pull to be caught by Samson, but the TV replays showed that Faulkner had bowled a no-ball.
To add to the misery of the bowler, Ojha hit the next ball for a six and also got a boundary in that over. Ojha though was done in by leg-spinner Tambe (2-21) in the 15th over.
Tambe struck in his very next over, after Morgan was trapped LBW while attempting a reverse sweep.
In the end, Bopara (23 not out) and Reddy (11 not out) did try to get maximum hits in the bag but the RR bowlers did well to allow SRH only 37 runs in the last five overs.
The Tom Moody-coached SRH are now placed seventh above Mumbai Indians, with a win and two losses in their three games so far.
SunRisers Hyderabad: 127/5 from 20 overs
(Naman Ojha,Eoin Morgan 27, Ravi Bopara 23 not out; Dhawal Kulkarni 2-9, Pravin Tambe 2-21)
Rajasthan Royals: 131/4 in 20 overs
(Ajinkya Rahane 62not out, Sanju Samson 26; Ravi Bopara 2-18, Karn Sharma 1-19,Trent Boult 1-31).