Rajasthan Royals impressed with the ball in a solid four-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Indian Premier League opener.
Rajasthan elected to field first and restricted their opponents to just 133-6 in their 20 overs.
They made an unsteady start in reply, but Ajinkya Rahane's half-century got them over the line with four balls to spare.
With a much-vaunted batting line-up, and some bowling stars, big things are expected of the Sunrisers this season, but they were becalmed by the disciplined Royals bowling.
|Sunrisers Hyderabad Scorecard|
|Aaron Finch||c Kane Richardson b Dhawal Kulkarni||2||5||40.00||0||0|
|Shikhar Dhawan||c Kane Richardson b Rajat Bhatia||38||34||111.76||3||1|
|David Warner||c Kane Richardson b Rajat Bhatia||32||35||91.42||1||0|
|Lokesh Rahul||c Ajinkya Rahane b Dhawal Kulkarni||20||18||111.11||1||1|
|Darren Sammy||c Sanju Samson b Kane Richardson||6||11||54.54||0||0|
|Venugopal Rao||NOT OUT||16||12||133.33||1||0|
|Karan Sharma||c Brad Hodge b Kane Richardson||4||5||80.00||0||0|
|Dale Steyn||NOT OUT||0||0||0.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 9, b 1, lb 5)||15|
|TOTAL||(6 wickets; 20 overs)||133||133|
Aaron Finch fell cheaply, while Shikhar Dhawan (38 from 34 balls) and David Warner (32 from 35) lingered, but could not get scoring.
For a pitch which had just hosted a 411-run encounter between the Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab, it was a curious change of pace.
Rajat Bhatia, Kane Richardson and Dhawal Kulkarni all picked up two wickets at around a run a ball, as the expected Sunrisers acceleration failed to materialise.
In reply, however, the Royals struggled initially. Abhishek Nayar and Sanju Samson both fell for single-figure scores as Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar impressed.
|Rajasthan Royals Scorecard|
|Abhishek Nayar||lbw Dale Steyn||4||3||133.33||1||0|
|Ajinkya Rahane||c Aaron Finch b Amit Mishra||59||53||111.32||6||0|
|Sanju Samson||c Shikhar Dhawan b Bhuvneshwar Kumar||3||9||33.33||0||0|
|Shane Watson||c Lokesh Rahul b Ishant Sharma||3||7||42.85||0||0|
|Stuart Binny||NOT OUT||48||32||150.00||4||1|
|Brad Hodge||c Darren Sammy b Amit Mishra||1||8||12.50||0||0|
|Rajat Bhatia||c Aaron Finch b Dale Steyn||4||3||133.33||1||0|
|James Faulkner||NOT OUT||8||2||400.00||2||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 2, lb 3)||5|
|TOTAL||(6 wickets; 19.3 overs)||135|
And when Ishant Sharma accounted for Rajasthan captain Shane Watson—giving him a big send-off as he departed—the game was wide open at 31-3.
But Rahane was joined by Stuart Binny and they drew the sting out of the attack, milking the bowling with patience and composure.
Rahane fell for a 53-ball 59, holing out as he looked to wrap up the match, but at the point he left the equation was 26 from 24 balls, and things looked secure.
However, a middle order wobble made for a nervy finale.
KXIP chased 206 easily this afternoon. On the same pitch, RR need 8 runs off the last over to chase 134. http://t.co/DfLvYHfymN— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) April 18, 2014
That was until James Faulkner stepped up. Both balls of Kumar's final over went for fours, and the match was over.