Opener Ajinkya Rahane’s sparkling 98 helped Rajasthan Royals score a 31-run victory over Kings XI Punjab, while pace bowler Ashok Dinda grabbed 4-17 in Pune Warriors’ 29-run win over Mumbai Indians in IPL games on Friday.
Rahane batted virtually through the innings as Rajasthan notched up an intimidating 191-4 in 20 overs. The former champion then restricted Punjab to 160-9 in a one-sided game at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.
Earlier in the day, Dinda produced two incisive bursts as Pune restricted Champions League winner Mumbai to 100-9 after scoring a moderate 129-9 on a sporting Wankhede Stadium pitch in Mumbai.
Rahane’s innings was studded with 16 fours and one six. He dominated in crucial partnerships of 77 with captain Rahul Dravid (28) for the first wicket and 75 with Australian Brad Hodge (21) for the third.
Rahane struck three consecutive fours off seam bowler Praveen Kumar and again off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla during his 66-ball knock and was bowled in the last over of the innings by Australian left-arm pace bowler James Faulkner, who led Punjab bowlers with 2-41.
Punjab showed an early flourish in their reply through captain Adam Gilchrist, who scored 27 off 18 balls, but West Indian allrounder Kevon Cooper bagged 4-26 to end their hopes.
In the first game, Dinda struck twice in his first over and also applied the finishing touches.
Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik was the other bowler to impress with 2-14, which included the early wicket of South Africa’s Richard Levi.
Mumbai, without former captain Sachin Tendulkar who has a hand injury, failed to get a partnership going in the face of some tight bowling.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, leading Pune in the absence of Yuvraj Singh who is undergoing treatment for cancer, marshaled his resources well and some early strikes gave his side the edge.