Rahane, Cooper help Rajasthan beat Punjab by 31 runs

Updated: Apr 07, 2012, 00:24 AM IST

Suyash Srivastava

Jaipur: Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant knock of 98 runs helped Rajasthan Royals kick-off their campaign with an emphatic win over Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday.

Rahane who fell short of a well deserved century by just two runs, attacked from the word go as he picked up boundaries at regular intervals.

Punjab skipper Gilchrist won the toss and decided to field first, a decision which was later regretted by him. The opening pair of Dravid and Rahane never looked in a hurry and they scored boundaries of almost every over. Rahane (98) looked in great touch as he scored 4 boundaries in the third over bowled by Pravin Kumar. Dravid (28) was out in the tenth over but by then he had shared a 77-run-stand for the opening wicket. Towards the end, Brad Hodge (21) and Owais Shah (14) made sure that they reached a huge total in front of the home crowd.

Pravin Kumar was the most expensive bowler as he went for 42 runs in his quota of 10 overs! James Faulkner too went for 41 runs but he picked up two crucial wickets.

Chasing the huge total, Kings XI Punjab never looked settled as Gilchrist and Valthaty failed to provide the kind of start that was required to meet the mammoth task ahead. Gilchrist fell in the 5th over bowled by Amit Singh, caught by Cooper at mid-off. Shaun Marsh (7) could not overcome his rough patch with the bat as his team-mate David Hussey too failed with the bat. Mandeep Singh was the highest scorer with the bat, but following the top order collapse, it was a tough from the middle order to chase down the huge total. Kings XI Punjab managed to scored 160 runs and lost their opening match by 31 runs.

Ajinkya Rahane was adjudged the Man of the Match for his stupendous knock. Cooper who made his IPL debut picked up four wickets and became the second bowler after Shoaib Akhtar to have done so on IPL debut. He also took two catches and produced a run-out.