Bangalore: Ajinkya Rahane`s spectacular maiden IPL ton powered Rajasthan Royals to an emphatic 59-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on their home ground at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on Sunday. Rahane who opened the innings for Rajasthan remained unbeaten on 103 runs which came off just 60 balls.
By the end of 10 overs, Rajasthan had scored just 61 runs without any loss. At the end of 13th over they had scored 82 runs for the loss of two wickets and no one had a clue what was about to follow. It was the 14th over bowled by Sreenath Aravind that was the turning point for Rajasthan Royals. Rahane scored six consecutive boundaries in that over as Rajasthan innings completely changed from there. And all of the six boundaries were well executed as Rahane seemed to be scoring boundaries at will after that over. His partner Owais Shah who was at the non-striker's end too changed gears from there on.
Vettori bowled the 15th over as he tried to compensate for the damage done in the previous over as he gave away just 7 runs. For the 16th over he brought Gayle to control the massive run flow. Shah clobbered Gayle over long-on for a six which was followed by another one. Gayle’s over produced 21 runs and there was no looking back for Rajasthan.
Rahul Dravid and Rahane shared an opening stand of 62 runs which took over 10 overs and the run-rate wasn’t impressive at all though they had wickets in hand. Towards the end, it was raining sixes as none of the bowlers were able to control the run flow. Aravind was hit for 48 runs in just three overs. Vinay Kumar also proved to be very expensive as he gave away 51 runs in 4 overs without a wicket.
With the likes of Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers by their side, Bangalore would have fancied their chances to chase down the formidable total. Openers Mayank Agarwal and Gayle provided a brisk start as they scored 42 runs in just 4.2 overs. Pankaj Singh who was playing his first match in IPL 2012 made a great comeback to the shorter format as he scalped both the openers in the fifth over. Bangalore who now depend a lot on Gayle were stunned as he was bowled by Pankaj for just 8 runs.
Another superb spell of seam bowling was yet to follow. Siddharth Trivedi came into the attack and the middle order collapsed trying to play him across the line of almost similar deliveries. The first to perish was de Villiers (6) followed by Kohli (22) and Saurabh Tiwary (17). None of the Bangalore batsmen looked like they were determined to make a match of it as the late onslaught of Rajasthan innings had created tremendous pressure.
Undoubtedly Rajasthan seamers bowled really well as they shared 8 wickets between themselves. Trivedi was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up 4 wickets for just 25 runs in 4 overs. But it was Pankaj Singh who derailed Bangalore innings as Gayle and Mayank collapsed in a matter of few deliveries. Pankaj and Amit Singh picked up two wickets each.
Needless to say, Ajinkya Rahane was declared the Man of the Man for his breathtaking innings which helped his team reach the top of the table with 6 points from 5 matches with a better run rate than Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians who are also on 6 points. Rahane is now once again the orange cap holder with 260 runs. It was also the first century of IPL 2012.