Jaipur: Ajinkya Rahane and Kevon Cooper starred in Rajasthan Royals’ 31-run win over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Friday.
Rahane struck a classy 98 off 66 balls in Rajasthan’s 191 for four and medium pacer Cooper picked up four wickets on IPL debut as Punjab ended at 160 for nine at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
The win was the home team’s first under new captain Rahul Dravid, who took over from spin legend Shane Warne.
Punjab never looked like chasing down the target after being 61 for four in eight overs and the pressure kept on mounting on the batsmen with the asking rate going up steeply. Mandeep Singh top-scored with 34 while skipper Adam Gilchrist made 27 at the top of the order.
The night clearly belonged to Rahane, who was unlucky to miss out on a hundred.
His knock was a classic example of how one can be successful in T20 while playing pure cricketing shots.
Rahane hit Praveen Kumar for four boundaries in the third over of the match with each of them going down the ground in different directions. That proved to be just the start of delightful strokes flowing from his bat. Overall, Rahane collected 16 boundaries and a six before falling to Harmeet Singh in the 20th over.
Rahane shared 77 runs for the opening wicket with Dravid (28), setting up the foundation for a big score.