Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Rahane was named Man of the Match for his crucial half-century
India batsman Ajinkya Rahane scored a fluent half-century to help the Rajasthan Royals post a four-wicket win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi.
Rahane was well supported by Stuart Binny, who smashed an unbeaten 48.
Rajasthan captain Shane Watson would have been ecstatic with his decision to bowl first early on as Hyderabad opener Aaron Finch was caught by Kane Richardson at cover off the bowling of Dhawal Kulkarni.
Hyderabad captain Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner made up for the early loss of Finch with a 75-run partnership before Dhawan was caught by Richardson at deep square leg off the bowling of Rajat Bhatia for 38.
Warner ended up making 32 before he was also caught by Richardson off the bowling of Bhatia.
Lokesh Rahul managed to make 20 runs before he was caught by Rahane at deep midwicket off the bowling of Kulkarni.
West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy only made six runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Richardson.
Richardson struck again in his next over as Karn Sharma was caught by Brad Hodge at long-on for just four runs.
Hyderabad eventually finished on 133/6 off their 20 overs.
Kulkarni, Richardson and Bhatia all picked up two wickets apiece.
Chasing 134 to win, Rajasthan got off to a poor start as they lost their top three batsmen for just 31 runs.
Rahane and Binny stabilised the innings with a vital 77-run partnership, during which Rahane brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Finch at long-off off the bowling of Amit Mishra.
Rahane’s fantastic knock of 59 came off 53 balls and included six boundaries.
Hodge only made one run before he was caught by Sammy at deep midwicket off the bowling of Mishra.
Bhatia mustered four runs before he was caught by Finch at long-on off the bowling of Dale Steyn.
Binny proved to be Rajasthan’s hero as he carried his side across the finish line with three balls to spare.
Binny finished on 48 off 32 balls, which included four boundaries and a six.
Steyn and Mishra snapped up two wickets apiece, while Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took one wicket each.
Dhawan noted that his side should have at least made 150.
Watson was delighted with the victory, and said: “It was a slightly smaller score than we expected. But 134 was always going to be challenging against their bowling. The wicket played very nicely.”
Rahane was named Man of the Match, and said: “When three went down I wanted to bat as long as possible, we needed one big partnership. Me and Binny enjoy each other’s company very well. I backed my instincts. Credit also goes to the Sunrisers bowlers.”