18th April 2014
Watson and royals kick-off on a winning note
Low-scoring match yet a superb start for the Royals! Team RR won the first match of IPL 2014 by 4 wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad; owing to brilliant batting performance by Ajinkya Rahane (59) and Stuart Binny (47*).
RR bowlers surpassed everyone's expectations and leaked away least runs. Dhawal Kulkarni striked in the first over taking down Aaron Finch, thereby ensuring the fierce opening pair does not cause a big damage. Interestingly enough, James faulkner who took 5-for in IPL 2013 twice, both times against Sunrisers Hyderabad, was the most expensive bowler for team RR giving away 27 runs in his 3 overs. The pacers of the team - Kulkarni, Bhatia and K Richardson - picked up two wickets each restricting SRH to 133/6.
SRH batsmen on the other hand, played sensibly after losing Finch in the first over. They saved wickets, taking singles & doubles and rotating the strike. Loose balls were not forgiven and were sent out of the boundary line mercilessly. The players kept scoring runs at the equal pace throughout the innings reaching to a decent total of 133.
Rajasthan Royals too lost their first wicket of Abhishek Nayar in the first over to Dale Steyn. It was a slow start for the team as Samson and Captain Watson got out cheaply. However, Rahane and Binny held the stand together for the partnership of 77 runs for the 4th wicket. Rahane was dropped by Finch at 9* and he went on to score 59 before being caught by Finch again in the deep.
The match was evenly poised till the last over of the second innings. However, slowly and steadily Team RR chased the total with 4 wickets in hand and 3 balls remaining.
The match was the perfect example of how dew factor affects the game. The same pitch was a high scoring game in the first match between CSK and KXIP. 205 + 206 = 411 runs were scored at the loss of 8 wickets.
As the evening drew in, with dew affecting the pitch, RR vs SRH became a fast bowlers' paradise. 133 + 135 = 268 runs were scored at the loss of 12 wickets.
The bowling department performed extremely well for RR, restricting the opponents to a low score of 133 picking up 6 wickets.
The batting department, however, will have a lot of homework to do. Chasing a mediocre target of 134, only Rahane and Binny Junior were able to reach double digit figures. This could be a point of concern when playing against mightier teams with stronger batting line-up. Also, if batting first, team will have to put up a bigger score, which means the hard-hitters of the team will have to play their best in the upcoming matches.
But for now, well done Royals!