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Rahane strikes as Rajasthan beats Pune in a thriller







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Ajinkya Rahane struck a scintillating 67 while Rahul Dravid produced an age-defying innings to maintain Rajasthan Royals’ impeccable ‘home’ record as the hosts defeated Pune Warriors by five wickets in a thrilling match.

By the virtue of this win, Royals also exacted a ‘sweet revenge’ on their opponents, having tasted defeat on the previous occasion when the two sides met in Pune on April 11.

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The match went down to the wire as Royals lost some quick wickets after the second strategic time-out was taken but Stuart Binny’s unbeaten 13-ball 32 ensured that ‘Fort SMS’ wasn’t breached.

Royals registered their sixth win at home with one ball to spare. Chasing a challenging target of 179 runs, Rahane and Dravid (58, 40 balls, 9×4, 6×1) provided their team a solid start, adding 98 runs for the opening-wicket partnership in just 11.5 overs.

Both made short work of the Pune bowlers and enthralled a sell-out crowd at the Sawai Man Singh stadium with their vast repertoire of stroke-play.

Dravid was the more aggressive of the two as he cut and drove Pune bowlers to reach his third fifty in the tournament in just 36 balls with a straight six over long-on off spinner Rahul Sharma.

Earlier, Robin Uthappa struck a fluent half-century and shared 97-run opening stand with skipper Aaron Finch as Pune Warriors posted a challenging 178 for four in 20 overs.
Uthappa scored an aggressive 41-ball 54 and, together in the company of Finch, who made an equally impressive 32-ball 45 after Warriors decided to bat first at the Sawai Man Singh stadium.

Mitchell Marsh provided the late flourish with a 21-ball 35, laced with two fours and three sixes, as Pune batsmen finally came good with the bat.

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