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Monday, April 16, 2012

Ajinkya Rahane shines........... Arvind troubled !!

T2o is no doubt slam-bang – you cannot expect anything else when you have only 120 legitimate deliveries and 10 wickets at hand – still you have seen some low scoring matches.  

Chris Gayle, Mc Cullum, Peterson, Warner, Levi, Virender Sehwag, Kieron Pollard – were all expected to explode; the earlier versions had thrown some local talent exploding – Murali Vijay once scored a century, so did Manish Pandey and Paul Valthathy – they are not scoring now.  There were some explosive innings from Sarul Kanwar, Naman Ojha, Mayank Agarwal, Swapnil Asnodkar, Sourab Tiwary and the like………….

This season has seen some big hitting by the likes of Pollard, Bravo, Albie Morkel, Marlon Samuels, Kevon Cooper…….. and some 5 wicket hauls by Jadeja, Sunil Naraine…….

He was not certainly one of the top favourites in that list – a player with good technique and appetite for runs – may not be the top picks for T20s – but he is now topping the list of run scores with a near century and a century yesterday in the 18th match where Rajasthan Royals won by 59 runs, beating the home Team Royal Challengers at Bangalore on 15th April.  Two test batsmen opened for Rajasthan – both are not regular openers – the most Senior Rahul Dravid made a patient 25 off 32; Brad Hodge got to face only 2 deliveries and RR made 195 mainly due to a great century by Rahane – yes, Rahana off 60 balls with 12 fours and 5 over it @ 171.66 strike rate !

Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane, is only 24, who has made runs a plenty in Ranji – with systematic progression of playing and scoring at all levels.  On that ill-fated tour to England where India lost all the matches, he made 61 on his T20 debut at Manchester, followed by an aggressive 40 on ODI debut at Chester-le-Street, and 54 in Southampton. The numbers aside, it's Rahane's approach and maturity that won his accolades.  Called into an injury-ridden squad as a replacementfor Virender Sehwag, Rahane joined the team a day before the tour match against Leicestershire.   He has been one of the mainstays of Mumbai and has made immediate impact when he was given a chance at the National level.  

At Bangalore, this man, not known to be the best of T20 talent, improved his  previous-best of 98 against Kings XI Punjab in a blistering, unbeaten innings making 103.   In the course of that knock, he smashed six consecutive fours off an over - the first in Twenty20 history, S Aravind being the unfortunate bowler.  At the end of over 13, RR were 82/1 and Rahane was 2 short of his 50.  the first 2 were driven past the bowler nonchalantly for boundaries; 3rd was a scoop over keeper; 4th pulled over mid wicket; 5th cover driven and 6th was delicately guided to 3rd man – so all 4s – Rahane moved from 48 to 72… 

In the final over, he required 7 for his century and by half of the over, he was there.  Rajasthan Royals hammered 113 off the last seven overs, the third-best in IPL history.  Royal Challengers began the chase in enterprising manner, with Mayank Agarwal pulling the first ball for six over fine leg. But spirited bowling performance with  Pankaj Singh being impressive settled the issue beyond a doubt.   

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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