Jaipur: Rajasthan Royals maintained their perfect record at home in IPL 6 with a spirited chase against Pune Warriors India who despite setting the hosts a challenging 179 to chase ended up on the losing side yet again on Sunday.
Skipper Rahul Dravid (58 off 40) and Ajinkya Rahane (67 off 48) scored brilliant half-centuries to set up the chase with a 98-run opening stand but Rajasthan faced a mini stutter after that, losing their in-form batsmen Shane Watson and Brad Hodge cheaply. And Dravid thinks winning despite major contributions from his two match-winners is a big achievement.
"Good to see the youngsters finish it off in the end. Just the way everyone constructed it. Not every day do you chase 180 without Watson and Hodge contributing big time," the Rajasthan skipper said after the five-wicket victory, which helped RR stay in the top four on the leaderboard with 14 points.
Pune's big total was built on a half-century by Robin Uthappa [54 off 41] and cameos from captain Aaron Finch (45 off 32) and Mitchell Marsh (35 not out off 21), but Rajasthan bowlers did well to pull the total back after it threatened to cross 200 at one stage.
"We came back with the ball really well. At one point 200 looked possible, but we pulled them back. It's a good cricket wicket. There is something in it for the bowlers, but if you play well, you can play your shots - 360 degrees," Dravid added.
Man-of-the-Match Rahane agreed with his skipper. "180 was not easy to chase," Rahane said. "But overall everyone did well, especially our bowlers came back [to restrict Pune] and I think they were 10-15 [runs] short. We just wanted to play cricketing shots, our normal game. I was disappointed to get out when I did, but Stuart [Binny] and Sanju [Samson] did really well."